Monday, August 19, 2013

Jacobs Romanian adventure 8-19-2013


Hello again, I know I say this a ton but the weeks feel shorter and shorter. It is crazy to me that there is only 2 weeks left in my second transfer. I forgot to mention in my last e-mail that I got a little food poisoning, not exactly sure what from but I wasn't feeling good last Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On top of that the summer heat is finally starting to hit more and more so now its super hot. Most of our work is outside so we make the best of it and try to keep cool. This past week I have had some pretty cool things happen. It all started Tuesday morning when we called Andrea, that one girl I mentioned who got in the motorcycle accident, to see if we could meet up with her and teach her a lesson or a spiritual thought or anything. Anyways she never responded to us so later that afternoon Elder Cunningham and I went to McDonald for lunch, which unlike America is a pretty big deal. Usually if you were going to go on a nice date here you go would go to McDonald's because one, its expensive, and two, there are only certain things on the menu like a Big Mac or wraps. It’s really weird. Ha-ha so we were sitting there eating our meal and a worker comes up to us and asks us if we wanted refills on our drinks. We both looked at her super confused and asked what she said again. I’m laughing while I'm writing this because it sounds ridiculous but there is not one place in Romania that would ever give you refills, so we were freaking out. Ha-ha While we were waiting for our drinks, Andrea called us. Elder Cunningham and I both looked up into the air just like in the movie the best two years. Ha-ha it ended up not being as good as we thought it would because she said her boyfriend is apparently jealous and doesn’t want her to talk to us. We though that was kinda weird because he knows us and knows we are good people but that just how some Romanians are. It’s a bummer but we will try to continue to stay in touch with them. 

That evening we had English class, which went absolutely great. I think those classes are one of the most effective things we do. We had a few new students this week and the older ones are consistently coming. I am teaching the Advanced English class this transfer so it’s really nice because more people participate and actually talk. After we took a 5-minute break, we invited everyone to stay if they wanted to hear a spiritual thought. To our surprise, almost every student stayed which was awesome. We planned on actually giving the first lesson of the restoration and talk about the Book Of Mormon so that’s what we did. I haven't had a lot of experiences with teaching lessons yet because we haven't had anyone to teach but I was really excited. We taught in English, which was also a different experience because when I think of teaching and talking about the gospel, I'm always trying to say it in Romanian. It was really nice to be able to speak in English and have people understand me. We taught about a 20-minute lesson and it went well! The spirit was very strong and I felt like we taught it in a way where people were able to understand it. At the end of the lesson, we invited everyone to take and read the introduction and first few pages of the book of Mormon. We had 3 people take copies so we are hoping that they will read so we can talk about it next week with them. Also, one of our students came up to us and was like, I didn't really understand everything that you were saying so we plan to meet with her later this week to teach her. 

On Thursday we had a very slow day because it was Sfânta Maria Holiday. It was a very big deal because she is one of the bigger saints in the Orthodox Church so everyone was celebrating. There was a huge concert down be the river. We passed it on the way back to our apartments and it was insane. There were so many people there and everyone is just going crazy. It is especially hard to do missionary work on those days because everyone is like why aren't you celebrating or they will tell us to party with them. Ha-ha we ended up watching a big firework show on the river that night which was really cool. The very next day I went on an exchange with Elder Ward. It was a very unproductive exchange because we had no success. When there are Holidays here it goes on for two days so nobody was out and all the people we talked to told us to go away. I still learned a lot from Elder Ward. I have a lot of fun with him and he knows what he’s doing. We were talking the other night about BYU Idaho for a little bit because he went there a few years ago. He’s 22 so he’s a little older, but we figured out we lived in the same exact house up in Rexburg! It was so random and I know some of the people he knew up there. Small world.

Now, unfortunately some horrible things also happened this week. So I believe I have mentioned Ozana before. She’s the 13 year old girl who is super mature. She meets up with the elders to talk a lot because she feels comfortable with us and is going through a lot of problems right now. We told her a few weeks ago that she needs to tell her parents that she is meeting with us because we could get in a lot of trouble if they don’t know. Usually we wouldn't keep meeting with someone if all we were doing is talking but it always turns into a religious conversation about God and how He can help her and fix all the things that are going on in her life. Anyways on Saturday we were talking to her about Prophets and Apostles and Joseph Smith. In summary it was basically how without Joseph Smith, we would never have been able to get the Book of Mormon and the Gospel would not be restored. She then told us that the first time she opened the Book of Mormon, it was the happiest moment in her life. We were so happy that she was able to see the difference and recognize the spirit. She left that evening and we started freaking out. We ran to the white board like a bunch of crazy people and started making a list of things we can do to help her. For example- fasting, praying for her, being more obedient, stuff like that. We were all super pumped and then we heard a loud knock at the church door. We went down stairs and it was Ozana and her mother standing there. As soon as we opened the door her mother just started screaming as us saying that we have no permission to talk to her daughter or her family. She said that we are horrible people and that what we are doing is a horrible thing and that we are going to Hell. It was really harsh and it hit Elder Cunningham pretty hard because he’s a little sensitive. It is such a bummer because who knows what will happen in the future. Maybe because of this, Ozana will never come back. Even worse, that family will now have a bad image of the church and will tell everyone she knows about it. Just like I mentioned last week, it’s hard to stand up for what’s right. And all we're doing is teaching about Jesus Christ. It reminds me of all the many hardships the Saints went through when the church was being established. They were spit upon and mocked and  persecuted but then never gave up because they knew of the truth. They knew that no matter what God was with them and would protect them. Even though this week was crazy I am grateful for the experiences I have every day because I know that God is proud and will help us through it. I would not be able to do anything out here if I did not have a strong testimony of my Savior. It would be impossible to stand up for something that I didn't know for myself was true. I love being a missionary and telling people what I know. I love telling people that I am only 19 and I'm not a perfect teacher because it puts me on their level and makes them understand that I'm not perfect but this message is important enough to be shared. 

Yesterday on Sunday we went to the children’s orphanage. It was so much fun and all the kids were really happy that we were there. We brought them juice and some balls to play with. We all played soccer with them in our church clothes. It was really sad to see them all but if felt good to do some service and make them happy. I don’t have any pictures of them because the orphanage doesn’t allow us to take any pictures. We are planning on going back next week and playing with them again. 

I love you all. The Church is true. Thanks again for all your support. 

Elder Mayans

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