It's hard to believe that Austin left for the MTC 3 months ago already! Time flies and yet seems to stand still...funny phenomenon how that works. For some reason, a couple of his e-mails haven't come through, so we didn't hear from him last week. Here is the latest update:
"I'm doing great over here. The language is making more and more sense. I'm learning a ton by just listening to what people say, then asking my compnion and then having him tell me, and then it usually makes sense. I can order my own food places and stuff like that, encounters where I do most of the talking and less of the understanding. We still go eat at Mama Ana's house once a week. Romanians use a billion tomatoes in everything they make, especially soup, they are starting to grow on me I think.
The weather is cooling down here as well. The leaves are changing colors and stuff. There is like no grass in this country so that's kind of unfortunate. And there are no mountains in my city either. Hopefully I get to go to Brasov or Sibiu sometime during my stay here, they are both in the middle of the mountains.
We have some people we're talking to right now, we teach them English lessons privately and then share a spiritual thought at then end. And we have several investigators right now too, I explained them in my other letter. (That's the letter we didn't get.) It's hard to get appointments with people because everyone goes la tara (basically to the countryside) every weekend, and some people don't say when they are coming home. As far as the whole door to door thing, we don't do that very often. Because it's very ineffective. Everyone lives in blocs here so we call it block knocking. Many people just don't answer the doors because they all have peepholes and they see us and don't open. We knocked a staircase of a bloc and went 0 for 14. One lady said she couldn't listen because she has a kid. People give all sorts of irrelevant excuses like that. And everyone here is Orthodox too. Look up some stuff about that religion, it is VERY different from ours. So we try to focus on working with the members and contacting former investigators as a way of teaching people.
The last 4 days in the city here, they have been having the Oradea Days Festival. The big park in the middle of the city is filled with booths and rides and stuff. It's like a super big carnival with concerts and food and everything. There was even a guy selling honey at one booth. We went there to help Caritas (the place where we serve the food) set up their booth and we visited them there a few times. They are all super nice people that work there. But yeah, there was a ton of people in the park the last few days for that. I'll send you some pictures another day, I forgot my memory card reader at the apartment.
Funny story of the week. The other day, we were coming back from the homeless shelter, and we were on the wrong tram, but the tram we needed to be on was right in front of us. So we hopped off, and did a 400 meter dash, (yes we measured it on the map when we got home), and caught the tram stopped at the light at the next station. It was nuts we were like dodging people and cars and running in the road, it was crazy. But we got on the train and it saved us probably a 10 minute wait. And we got our exercise for the day... haha"
He asked us to send him some honey---imagine that?!? He said it's expensive over there and he's never had to buy honey before. I'm sure it doesn't taste as good as Phelps Honey either! I do think, however, that he is not doing the math of expense and forgetting that it costs us around $50 to send anything over to Romania!