Monday, June 24, 2013

Jacob in Romania 6-24-2013

Hello!!!                                                6-24-13

How is everyone doing? I love your emails they are very funny and make me laugh. So last week was my first official week in Romania. And let me tell you it is very interesting. Ha-ha I have to start getting use to Romania because it’s a very different mission. I mean of course we are sharing the Gospel with people but the success rate is very low, as you already know. 

One of the main things we do on a daily basis is contacting. For at least a few hours a day we just go around and talk to people about the church. I would say most people just laugh or think we are a joke but every once in a while we have a pretty good conversation. Its very fun and getting to know different people is always fun. Actually I believe it was last Wednesday we went contacting and it was awesome. I don’t really know what to expect but my trainer Elder Rasmussen told me it was one of the best contacting he has ever done in his mission. We got about eight people in a row that showed some interest and actually talked to us. It seems like everyone here has their own set of beliefs. Sometimes it’s difficult to share a message with them. We ended up passing out two copies of the Book of Mormon and we also got a few phone numbers. That doesn’t sound like very much but it is. Our Zone has a goal of giving out 100 copies of the book of Mormon for the next six weeks. So as you cant probably see it pretty hard to give out copies. I love contacting though. I’m getting a little better with the language. One way to learn faster is but writing out what I would want to say for a contact. They I study those words out. I figured that is one of the most important things I need to learn how to do at this point because that’s the majority of what we do. 

Another thing we do is English contacting. The mission does English classes (taught by us) every Tuesday and Saturday. My first time going to that will be tomorrow so we will see how it goes, but I love English contacting. We basically just go around and pass out flyers about the class. I have a lot of fun with it because I will sometimes start talking to someone in English and they will just start at me and then ill explain it in Romanian. Ha-ha Or if they know a little then I just explain to them in English that they can learn more. And it’s free so when ever people hear the word "free" they get really excited. 

Lets see so this week we had 1 official lesson. His name is Marian and knew Elder Rasmussen from when he served in Galati a few months ago. He’s 18 and a really smart guy. In the lesson he actually brought his girlfriend which was good too. He really likes to get off on tangents and has so many questions about different things so we really tried to focus on staying on topic. Anyways the lesson went so good and the spirit was so strong. We talked mostly about the book of Mormon and Faith. After the lesson he basically said that he likes us but that everyone believes in the Same God so what’s the point. It was really frustrating because I know he had to have felt the spirit and he just doesn't want to do anything about it. 

Another experience we had was on Friday we were English contacting and we started to talk to this black man from Kenya. He is a refugee and there are not too many black people in Romania so we had to talk to him. He actually only spoke English but was the happiest, funniest guy I have met. We got his number and set up an appointment with him for the next day. So to make it short, he’s what people call a weefy. Which is basically some who says they are coming to an appointment but then never shows up. ha-ha So on the Teaching record we put down that Abram (his name) is a very nice guy, very weefy but apologetic. Haha he always says in so sorry I didn’t make it I was eating. Ha-ha He has wasted a little bit of our time so I called him yesterday and told him that whenever he wants to meet with us, just call us. He said he would definitely do so. Ha-ha 

That’s about it. Today I got my nice European hair cut. I had way too much hair on my head so I just took a few pounds off. It’s so hot here and the tailor shop is never open so I am still wearing long sleeve shirts. Where’s Pete the Greek when you need him. Ha-ha anyways the mission life is great. I love it here in Galati. Its so beautiful and being a missionary is so fun. People just stare at me but if I catch them staring then ill just walk up to them and start talking about the Church of Jesus Christ. Ha-ha I love you all and thanks for the birthday wishes. I expect everyone to send me presents. Ha-ha no doesn’t do that. Love you all and the Church is true. Share it with the people you know, even if it’s only for a minute. Even if they are not interested they will respect you more for doing it. Miss you all and have a good week. 

Elder Mayans

question and answers

Nad yes I will. My apartment looks really crappy because the blocks are really ugly but the apartment is not too bad. Church was decent. It’s been really hard because the branch has had some drama. There have been some rumors that have been going around so we had to fix a few things. Other than that it’s going good.

Sorry I didn’t answer a lot of your questions. So the mission home is in Bucharest and that is about a 4-hour train ride so no we are not close. And no I have not received tias package. I forgot to tell you that at the moment it is pouring rain and there is a lightening storm. So it will be interesting walking home ha-ha 

One more thing, last week we had to go to iaşi which is a 5 hour train ride for zone meeting. Iasi is an amazing city and has a lot of history. I got an awesome picture but I don’t have it right now so you will get that next week. We also went to a mall there and it was the BIGGEST and nicest mall I have ever been it. It was so weird and I didn’t feel like I was in Romania

 Yesterday we went to the river and it was crazy because there were so many people there. Now we know where everyone goes on Sunday nights. 

Love you pops!!! Have a good week and good luck with work. Dude there is a huge storm right now it is crazy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

1st week in Romania

1st week in Romania Email!!!                                    6-16-2013

Hello family and whoever else reads these e-mails! As you know this is my first week writing from the beautiful country of Romania. Holly cow I thought this would never happen. Where to start. First off the flight here was fun but at the same time it was awful. I thought it would never end but it did. Actually the flight to Amsterdam was really good and Elder Harper and I got some work done on the plane. It was awesome. It was our first time actually getting to talk to real people. We passed out a few books of Mormon and some pass along cards. It went really well. Actually there was a point on the plane where some of the elders including me were standing in the back of the plane because we were so sick of sitting down. When we were standing, some of the stewardess’ (mostly from Holland) started talking to us. They asked us so many questions about the church and it was really cool to see them learn more about the Church because they didn’t know much. We ended up teaching 3 of them on the plane for a good 45 minutes. So ya that’s about the flight. The plane was awesome and HUGE! It’s pretty much a house on wings. Ha-ha

So yeah, our last flight to Bucharest was a really scary and dirty plane. Ha-ha it just didn’t feel safe. And at that point no one spoke English. That’s when it got a little scary. So we landed and met President and Sister Hill and the A.P. They all took us back to the mission home where we sat there and had more instruction on things. Even though we were in Romania, the time we got there was like 2 in the morning (Provo Time) so everyone was so tired. It was really funny because everyone is trying to make a good first impression but started to fall asleep. Then after that we got to have personal interviews with President and Sister Hill. They are so nice. I heard a lot of really good things about they but now after meeting them I know I am going to love them. So yeah in the interview I got to get to know them more and tell them about my life and stuff like that. 

After that we all got matched up with our Naş. That is the Elder you are matched up with for the first day and first night before you get you trainer. My naş was Elder Slimbosky from California. He is a really funny guy and is known for being a fashion freak. The next morning I caught him blow-drying his hair and I was like dude what are you doing? Ha-ha but no he’s a really cool guy and has about 6 months left. So the first night you usually go with you naş and maybe walk around, get some cool food, and do some street contacting just to get a feel for the country. But it turned out that Elder Slimbosky had an unexpected call for a lesson that night so he was like actually your coming with me to a lesson. I was the only Elder out of all the Elders and Sisters that came in to go to a lesson on the first night. I was excited but kind of freaked out at the same time. Anyways this is probably one of the funniest things that have happened to me so far. So we take the metro (which is sweet) to get to their house. (A little back ground on this lesson. So their names are Dan and Maris. They are non-progressing investigators who called to have us come over because their grandma or something like that is in town for the next few days and wanted to meet us. The family is Protestant and they actually worship the Grandma because they believe she is the closest person to God. I know its pretty weird. So we get there, it’s in a tiny purple room with the lights very dim. Elder Slimbosky starts speaking some language that I guess was Romanian. (I thought of the Best Two Years when he says, Elder that’s not what they taught me in the MTC) So to make it short the lesson was a lot of talking about religion but not too much teaching. Every once in a while they would start screaming things out loud and chanting rituals it was crazy! Then the grandma and a friend that she brought from Church started to sing to us. The songs were like 7 minutes long and I felt so out of place. Then one time they asked us to sing a song. Elder Slimbosky and I looked at each other and then proceeded to sing I Am A Child Of God in English. It was the funniest, most awkward moment I have ever been in my life. Oh and also while we were doing this the whole family was snapping pictures of us on their phones. The lesson finally ended with a 15-minute prayer by Grandma. It was an intense prayer. From what I understood, she blessed that we would find the people who are searching for God and she also blessed me that I would learn the lesson quickly. After we walked out Elder Slimbosky was laughing - was that was the most perfect way to start you mission. 

So the Next day I got My Trainer!!! His name is Elder Rasmussen. He’s a really cool guy from Fresno, California. He actually only has 6 weeks left so I’m going to get a new trainer next transfer. He has a really strong testimony and is excited for me and is happy to be my trainer. He’s a really good cook and loves to do it so we eat very well. My first area is called Galaţi. If you want to look it up its on the eastern side of the country right at the tip of Moldova. Its a very small city and very poor. Galaţi is one of the poorest areas that missionaries go to. We have looked in our area book and there is not one investigator at the moment so we are starting off fresh. There are plenty of people out there waiting for us to find them. We live in a 10 story block (they are the ugliest concrete buildings in the world and they are everywhere.) ha-ha It’s awesome though. I love it so much and I am having a really good time. Because I was only in the MTC for 6 weeks there’s this thing that I do called the 12-week plan. It’s for the first 12 weeks out in the field. Its pretty much just study material and my trainer and I do together. It requires a lot more time inside just studying so we only get a few hours out of the day to go talk to people. We have talked to a few people and have gotten their numbers, and this week we are planning on doing a lot more. So yeah, it’s really hard to write on the first week because so much has happened. I love you all so much and I hope everyone is happy and doing ok. I love you all and thanks for all the support. 

Before I end, I’ll talk a little bit more about the Country. La ţara (which is the Country side) is beautiful. It is very green. It’s hard to explain because at the same time Europe is very different. I still have to remind myself that I'm in Europe because it still doesn’t feel like it. Buchureşt is a huge city and has so many people. When you are in the heart of the city you can’t really see around you because there are blocks everywhere. The Metro stations are also really cool. They are all underground and pretty much go to any part of the city. Buchureşt is poor but kinda just feels like L.A. ha-ha if that makes sense. And every once in a while you will see someone with a super nice car drive by it’s pretty ridiculous. But Galaţi is very poor like I've never seen before. A lot of the roads are dirt or very poorly paved. Oh also you not suppose to drink the water in Romania but especially in Galaţi. It comes out of the tap brown sometimes. It makes me appreciate water more. Every time we need water we walk a mile to the Church building and get it up there. 

I forgot to tell you about Church. We actually have a building here which is nice. It’s pretty much just looks like a house but it works. There are about 10 active members in our branch so as you can imagine it gets a little quiet. The members are very nice people and are very strong in the Gospel. It amazes me to see how much faith they have in the Savior even when they have so little. Only a few of them have been able to make it out of the country to through the Temple. 

This e-mail is not very well organized but I also forgot to say that there are 2 other Elders serving in Galaţi. Their names are Elder Ward and Elder Cunningham. They are super funny guys and have welcomed me in very well. 

Ok, I’ll finish off with one more thing. That is that yesterday after church Elder Rasmussen and I went to go visit Sister Prada, a member who is in the Hospital because of diabetes. We went to the Hospital and I felt like I was in a horror movie. The hallways were all dark and inside each room were 10 beds per room filled with people. It was really hard to see because hospitals are really bad here. We ended up talking to Sister Prada for a while. She is a really nice lady and loves the church. The doctors say she will probably die soon and she is already starting to lose her sight. I’m sorry that this sounds like a really sad or negative story. Its just reminds me of the importance of our work as members of this church. These people need the gospel. I love the Romanian people. They are such nice and humble people. There are also a lot of crazy people but the good people have very soft hearts. I love this Church and I am honored for the Lord to send me here. Thank you for all you prayers and support. Love you guys. 
-Elder Mayans

Funny things or things I thought were interesting
-Yesterday a gypsy walked up to me for money. I told him no and as I proceeded to pass him, he slapped me as hard as he could on my back/neck.
-There are dogs everywhere!!! I miss Chester but I don’t miss dogs. Some are really sweet and others like trash.
-Today I say a security guard tazering a bird for fun.
-There is a cat with 3 kittens that live in front of our block (Sarah would like that)
-I am getting eaten alive by mosquito (so glad mom packed itching cream)


I know this is horrible news but I got my camera stolen in Chicago. The cameras here aren’t too expensive but I tried buying one today and the debit card doesn’t work. Can you work and fix that and then write me back. Love you

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jacobs last letter at the MTC


Heeeeeeelllllllooooooooo family and friends!!!!!

So this is it!!! This is the last email I will be sending you guys in the MTC!!! I have loved the MTC so much!!! I have made a lot of really good friends here and because I have been with them every hour of the day I am able to get to know them very well and feel their spirit. So this week has been soo good! I am continuing to grow every day with the language of the spirit and Romanian.

So first off I got my travel plans so I will start off with that!!! Wooooohooo
Ok, so we are leaving next Monday morning. We have to be at Salt Lake City airport at 5 in the morning. Our flight takes off at 8:42 AM. Then we are going to Chicago and have a lay over there for a few hours and then we fly to Amsterdam, Netherlands at 4:10 PM. We arrive at 6:55 AM. Then finally we fly to Bucharest at 9:20 AM and arrive at 1:05 PM

Hopefully that makes sense. So back to this week. This week has been a little bit different. I am continuing to learn so much gospel Doctrine and how to teach. Also, we are still teaching our investigators in Romanian everyday which I look forward to so much. I am continuing to learn and grow every single day.

So after we all good out travel plans, it really made us realize that we will be in Romania before we know it. With that in mind, it is really easy so stress out about the language and stuff but I know that stressing out isn’t going to help me at all. All I can do is try my best and the Lord will do the rest. I know this is true and I have to trust in the Lord so much. Last week I had an answer to my prayers when I was feeling a little down about not being prepared enough. So I got the impression that I should write down a bunch of verbs on flash cards. I looked in my grammar book and chose about 200 verbs that are really useful and important. I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but for some reason, I have been able to memorize so much more and it has really helped me. Also, when my district saw that I did this, all of them ended up doing the exact same thing. Ha-ha! So it hasn’t just helped me. I ended up laminating the cards and they are always in my front pocket everywhere I go so I can study whenever I have time.

Zone leader is still going great. It hasn’t been too hard and it’s just been really nice to meet my entire zone more. We have such a good zone I cant stop saying that. Like I already said, I go to a few meetings a week and they teach us how to lead. I always get so much out of those meetings and it teaches me how to be a better leader. The main thing we learn is to have Christ like attributes. When Christ was on the earth, he always taught with love. It’s very important to love everyone no matter what, even if you don’t get along with them very well.

Lastly, something funny happened this week that I though I would share. So after devotional every Tuesday night we have a district testimony meeting. I’m always so tired after a long day and after devotional but the testimony meetings are filled with the spirit that I always walk out of them very awake and with the spirit. Anyway, this week we decided to have the meeting outside in the very back of the MTC campus. So while someone was baring their testimony, we heard these two little boys on the other side of the fence screaming at each other at the top of their lungs because they didn’t want to take out the trash. I don’t remember exactly what they said but the spirit was so strong and then all of the sudden they started yelling. It was very funny.

Again, thank you so much! I love you guys so much. I’m so blessed to have such a good family and very close friends. I hope all of you guys are doing well and are happy. I am so happy to me a missionary and serve the Lord. Bye!


Thank you for the packages mom!!! I love them and my favorite part was Sarah’s letter! Ha-ha it was so cute.
-So I will call you at the airport1 it will probably be when I am in Chicago but I’ll let you know. Make sure you guys have your phone on you so you don’t miss my call!!
-And the phone is so nice! Ha-ha I thought pre paid phones were really cheap. It wasn’t too much money was is? And is it ok that I just throw it away after I'm done?

-Love you!