Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Being a Missionary is Awesome!

Austin and an elder who was going home to New York

We got a great letter from Austin today!  He is doing awesome and seems to be loving his mission thus far. Here is the scoop:
"Anyways, things here are good, Transfers are this week, and I will be staying here in Oradea for another 6 weeks.  Until the 5th of December at least, could be staying here for half my mission, nobody knows..... haha.  We had a big district conference yesterday.  All the missionaries and some members from Timisoara, Arad, Cluj-Napoca, and Deva came to the city for a big meeting that the mission president presides at.  It had 2 sessions, Priesthood/Relief Society, and the general session for everyone.  It was super long, the whole thing lasted about 4 hours.  The meetings were longer because the talks given in English had to be translated into Romanian line by line.  Like for the mission president and his wife, they both spoke and don't speak Romanian.  There were a few other people who gave the talk in English first too.  It was a good day though.  We got  to visit with the other missionaries from other cities and we had interviews with the president.  They finished off a week long of driving, Oradea was the last stop, they had already been to Arad, Deva, Timisoara, and Cluj-Napoca before the conference.  So they left pretty quick to drive to Cluj-Napoca to fly back to Bucharest today.  They are doing all the exit interviews the next couple days and interviewing new missionaries coming into the country.  The president's assistants get to drive the car all the way back though, while they fly, that was funny."
The other 3 missionaries in Oradea in the park -- Austin took the photo
I asked him about some specifics of what days he does what, what they do on P-day, and about what they eat, how he is sleeping etc.  He replied,
"Our service at Caritas is on Thursday and Friday from 12:30 to 2.  And we just serve the food and clean up the cafeteria and wash the dishes after, we don't usually cook anything, it's all already made when we get there.  We teach English classes on Tuesday and Saturday.  For about  1 1/2 hours, depends on the day.  My companion and I taught the advanced class this transfer, so we might be teaching beginner next transfer, but we have an Elder coming into the city who is a Spanish native, but is also from Romania and doesn't speak very much English at all, so he and his companion will probably teach the beginner class.  Another elder got on a train to go back home to New York on Saturday.  The first picture is me and him. .  P-Day, we study in the morning as usual, then we usually go grocery shopping. Then we go to an internet cafe, or the library, to email and such.  Then we just go shopping places, go to the tailor to get clothes fitted.  That's awesome, we have a tailor right next door to our bloc, so basically all of my clothes are tailored now.  It's super cheap, it's like 4 dollars to take pants in and hem them and only like 2 dollars to slim shirts up.  But after that we usually play basketball or soccer at a park or something.  We just do laundry when we need to, we have a washer in our apartment, so it's not necessarily on P-day.  I just went to the gym once,  I was on an exchange with an another elder, and he got permission to go, so we went while I was with him for a day.  We don't usually go, my companion and I.  As far as food goes, we still eat at Mama Ana's once a week.  And usually at McDonald's once a week too, the prices are about the same as they are in the US so that's kind of annoying, should be cheaper.  But it tastes good when we go.  Other than that, we just buy groceries and make food at our apartment.  Cheaper that way, and we can make what we want.  We had pancakes for breakfast this morning, and sandwiches for lunch.  Usually stuff like that.  We make fries a lot, noodles, chicken, rice.  A lot of stuff.  We eat bananas and grapefruits often too and yogurt.  Pretty much whatever we feel like.  We usually only eat out for snacks.  They have chocolate filled soft pretzels here that are amazing.  I'd say we buy those the most.  There's all sorts of food to get on the street here.  The gelato is pretty good, they have these things called shoarmas, look that up on google, that have just everything in them.  All these things I don't like, but somehow, it tastes good.  They have like chicken, mystery sauce (it's different everywhere you go), cabbage, tomatoes, onions, more mystery sauce (different than the first sauce), lettuce, and whatever else they have which also depends on where you buy it.

I sleep fine, we obviously don't get enough sleep, but that's how missionary work is.  Long days and seemingly very short nights.  Church is good, still hard to understand a lot of people, but church is a good place to learn the language and I have been learning a lot there.  I don't have a calling, sometimes I bless or pass the sacrament, but that's about it.  They don't even have 2 counselors in the branch presidency here, just a first counselor.  We have watched all of conference except  the sunday morning session.  So we are going to do that soon, probably in Romanian though, because of the new elder coming into the city who doesn't speak English.

But yeah things are great, I'm still learning a ton.  I bought a new camera so that's taken care of.  I haven't got the packages yet, they only brought mail with them.  But one of the elders is coming back from Bucharest on Thursday and he should bring them, so hopefully I'll get them on Thursday.

I wish the weather would make up it's mind here.  One day it's freezing, the next it's too hot.  Winter just needs to come.  The work is good, but slow.  It's tough.  I just got a letter from Mike shepherd that said Carson teaches 30 lessons a week in Brazil, and Brian Nance does similar in South Africa.  Very different here.  People don't want anything to do with it.  Pretty interesting.  The whole mission only has 4 people on the list to be baptized in the next 2 or 3 months.  Crazy.  But we just get out and do it, that's what matters.

Things are great, being a missionary is awesome!"

The following are some pass along/calling cards that Austin sent to Jensen:

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