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.
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