Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Since when does Austin like Chili?

So conference was good. Our train was an hour and a half late arriving in Bucharest, so we didn't have time to shower or shave or anything before the first session of the conference at 9. That was kind of annyoing. It was super funny, at the gara in Bucharest, they just have a bunch of random "taxi drivers" really just normal people who drive people around and try to rip them off. So we were walking, looking for a cheap taxi, and everyone wants to drive us, because we are american. So we are asking how much they all charge to get to where we need to go, across the city a little. This one guy said 30 lei (it's like a 10 lei trip if they use the meter) and we were like, nope, and kept walking, then he offered 25, we said no. Then 20, and we said yes. It was this old, piece of junk car that this old guy drove, but he took us to the church, we paid him and he gave us a receipt and everyone was happy. So that was kind of funny for the starting of the day.

The conference was super long, it started at 9 and ended at 5. We had a 45 minute lunch of some super awesome chili and brownies and ice cream for dessert. One of the senior couples there cooked for us. And we had 2, 15 minute breaks too. So it was a very long meeting. Elder Stephen C. Kerr, from the area seventy came. He is from Scotland, so he had a cool accent. Super funny guy, and he kept us all involved and attentive, mostly. After the conference ended, we looked at mail and packages and stuff at the church with all the other missionaries. I did get the package, thank you. And, our train to Oradea, which was supposed to leave at 8:40, was 75 minutes late coming from Constanta. So, we went to Subway, it was pretty good. Haven't had that it quite a while, and it tastes the same here as in America.

But our train finally showed up and we got on and basically went to bed. And when we woke up we were only in Cluj. Which is like 2-2.5 hours away from Oradea. We were going through the mountains, so that was really cool. Tons of little towns along the way. And we lost another 30 minutes on the way so we arrived in Oradea 2 hours late. But yeah, that's basically the trip to Bucharest in a nutshell.
Town called piatra craiului, on our way through the mountains between cluj and Oradea. Taken from the train on our way home from Bucharest.

My health is fine, a piece of the filling on my front tooth came off, but it'll be fine, I might go get it fixed, i dunno. Doesn't bother me at all. Apparently the dentists here aren't half bad, so we'll see. It's finally starting to be kind of consistently cold here. 

As far as a day goes, here it is:
6:30 wake up shower, shave, get dressed
7:30 breakfast
8-11 or 10:30 study (personal, companion, language)
That's basically every morning.
As for the afternoons, we usually have an English lesson before lunch which is usually about 1 or 12. Then if it's Friday or Thursday, we go to Caritas to do service. Other days, we take care of stuff for English (classes), go street boarding in the park, do member visits, we take a dinner break usually, also we contact former investigators, obviously we try to schedule lessons, but it doesn't always work. That's some of the main things we do. Every day is different, so it's kinda hard to say "this is what we do every day."

So if anyone in the family asks what I need for Christmas or birthday, I need like 10 bucks, with a letter on how they are doing. That would help the most I think, because it doesn't make sense to buy something there and then ship it here, it I can just buy it here for cheaper most likely. anyways, that's my two cents on the birthday thing.

That's basically it for the week. I'll send another email with a couple pictures. We went to the cetate (fortress in the middle of the city) here, so i'll email a picture. Transfer board comes out on Thursday, so we'll see if I get moved, or if I'm doing another one here. Also, we are going to Bucharest again next week for transfers and I need to do some visa paper work too. But yeah, until next week.
The fortress wall, we climbed up a little to this hole, I grabbed a brick above my companion, and it broke out, and got dirt all over him. Super funny!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Turkey Bowl -- Romanian Missionary Style

So fun things first.. We just got back (like 30 minutes ago) from Arad. We met up with the missionaries there and the ones from Timisoara and we played the Turkey Bowl football game. It was awesome. We played 7 on 7 flag football on this government owned "field" of mostly dirt, and some weeds.. Everyone got super dirty and had a great time. The sisters even played with us. One of the sisters here, she can catch ANYTHING, I was playing quarterback the whole game basically, and she didn't drop one pass, maybe one, but probably not. My team lost... 19-20 (we were playing that one point=one touchdown). Oh well, it was still super fun. And we did pretty good considering the other team had 2 people who had played football through high school and such. But, we had to get up at 4 AM!! Our train left Oradea at 5:07 and arrived at Arad at 7:40. Then we played the game at 10, then ate lunch as a zone at a pizza place. Good thing the restaurant was right across the street from the gara (remember that word, because I'm never saying or typing "railroad station"ever again in my life). We hopped on our train back and literally like 1 minute later it was pulling away from the platform. So yeah it was a super fun p-day. We arrived back in Oradea at 5:07 and here I am now! Haha
Turkey Bowl and the field we played on
I asked him some questions this week and here are his responses:

So, how goes the teaching of lessons?

Lessons have been hard to come by this last week. We have only taught less than 15 this whole transfer so far. It's pretty rough. Crazy how different the work is here than in Brazil or Africa where Carson and Nance are. Carson told me he taught 41 lessons one of the recently passed weeks. HOLY COW. that's insane. We are lucky to get 3 or 4 in a week. Anyways. The baptism is still a date, for the 5th of December, but we'll have to see if it happens. It's gonna be probably moved to a different day, because we will be in Bucharest for transfers that day. We'll see, it's a super peculiar situation with the investigator, so we don't know what's gonna happen.

How are you getting along with your companion?

Me and my companion get along pretty well. I would be fine with doing another transfer with him, but it's probably not gonna happen. This is his 3rd transfer here, he's probably going somewhere else. I had another exchange with our Romanian Elder, so that was another full day of speaking Romanian.

What is the best part of church on Sunday?

So church on Sunday. It's super long. Especially because it's all basically in the same room with the same people. But I learn tons of words on Sundays usually. It's a 3 hour language study for me.. haha. We usually go to the park and set up a table with Books of Mormon and pamphlets and people come talk to us. And studying. We have church at 10 so we miss 2 hours of studying in the morning, so we do it after lunch usually.

What is your favorite food so far?

So, here's the scoop on food here:
They eat tons and tons of cabbage here, and it's gross. Sarmale is one of their favorites, and I can't stand the stuff. Just look it up on Google so I don't have to explain. And they just use cabbage in everything. They fed us at Caritas some fried cabbage hearts or middles or something and I had a hard time eating them. Anyways. They have super good pastries and bread here too. Bread is 3 lei per loaf, way cheap. They have this thing like scones, but they put just sugar on it and sometimes like Nutella, those are way good, and super cheap, only like 2 lei. So we buy those a lot. I haven't had a Romanian soup that I haven't really liked yet, maybe one, and it was mushroom, so obviously I wouldn't like it, but for the most part, the soup is good. They have shaormas here, those are pretty good too, Google those too. But my favorite food so far is Mama Ana's chicken cordon blue (home made) and crepes with cream cheese and chocolate and berry sauce for dessert.
 Sign on the pizza place we ate at last week, "probably the best pizza in the city" funny

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Another Encounter with the Guy from the Tram

Here's the latest from Elder Phelps!
"Things are still going pretty good for me here.  I'm in my fourth week of my 2nd transfer and it is flying by!  Crazy.  Time flies when you're having fun I guess.  But not much is new this week.  We didn't get to meet with any of our investigators this week, they were busy/sick/whatever else, but we met with both of them today, in the middle of P-day, so we had to work them in.  It's fine though.  We need to be flexible because we are here to help other people.

So I got my first haircut here.  It was 20 lei that included a wash and everything.  We went to a pretty nice salon place.  There were a bunch of men there getting pedicures, a little bit weird to me.  But yeah, it was like a 6 dollar haircut with a wash, can't beat that price in the US.... haha.

Remember that guy I told you about that called us the anti-Christ?  We had another run in with him the other day.  He stopped us on our way to teach English class and asked if we had a Book of Mormon, and of course we did.  I handed it to him and he began flipping through the pages and kept asking if it was the Bible.  We said no, and that we use it to teach about Jesus with the Bible.  He then told us to show him where it says "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." we said it doesn't say that because there is no book of John in the Book of Mormon and it's not the Bible.  He said it isn't valid then.  We tried to explain but he was getting snappy.  Finally he wrote in the front cover of the Book of Mormon we gave him, "This Bible is not valid, please leave romania." Then crossed out a random page in Alma, handed the book back to me and just turned around and walked away.  Super annoying, because now we can't give that Book of Mormon away or the pamphlets in it because he wrote all over them.  Oh well.  Funny story of the week I guess.

The other Elders have an investigator with a baptismal date, hopefully it doesn't fall through.  So that's pretty cool.

I finished reading The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration by Tad R. Callister.  What an insanely good book.  I would definitely suggest reading that one.  So much to learn.  It gives every reason, logical, spiritual, that our church is true and all the things we do in our church are right.  I'm still amazed and I wrote like 30 pages of notes on it in my journal.  Super cool read.

As far as missionary work goes, it was a pretty slow week.  We gave out some pamphlets and a Book of Mormon while we had our street display set up in the park on Tuesday, and like I said, we didn't have any lessons.  We've been trying to contacts some former investigators, but haven't had any luck yet.

The weather here has been really annoying too.  One day it's like the North Pole, and the next day 70 degrees.  Similar to Utah.  But it hasn't snowed here yet.  Apparently it does, it just hasn't yet.  It rained cats and dogs a couple days last week, and we got drenched.  We didn't bring umbrellas because it didn't seem like it was gonna rain, but it poured.  We wrang water out of our suit jackets when we got home.  yeah it was that wet.   And, since the government controls our thermostat, our apartment is always burning hot.  I have had to sleep with no covers the last few days.

Oh and check out this video. It's a news coverage program about the church in Romania.   Cool program.  Understand what you can.  Some of it is in English. or if it doesn't work, google search "secretele mormonilor"  it means secrets of the mormons....... lame title, but it's way cool that the church got this much press coverage here."

The video is really awesome, watch it if you can---it's about 18 minutes long. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It's Already November

Me, my companion and the lady that feeds us once a week and her mother.
It's hard to believe that Austin has been gone almost four months!  The time flies and stands still at the same time -- kind of a funny phenomenon.  Here's the latest update. . .and a new photo too!
"My companion and I just woke up that day and I said Happy Halloween and he said thanks and went and took a shower and that was about the end of it. They don't celebrate it really here.  Mostly just like the bars and clubs have parties,  but no such thing as trick or treating.

So we had companion exchanges a few days ago.  I was with a native Romanian Elder for 24 hours.  He is originally from Romania, but has lived in Spain for most of his life.  He speaks Romanian and Spanish, and like 10 words of English.  So it was pretty hard to communicate, because I had to do it in Romanian, but we got along.  I gave our another Book of Mormon while I was with him, so that was good. His companion is learning a ton of the language, that's for sure. 

So last Tuesday we were in Arad for another zone training meeting.  We got on the train and took a 3 hour ride, had a 3 hour meeting, then caught the first train back to Oradea.  Kind of a long day.  We had a faster train on the way back and I talked to a guy for a little bit that recognized us as Mormons.  He was Pentecostal and had lived in New York, Canada, Florida, and California.  I didn't have a Book of Mormon with me (Fail) so I just gave him a pass along card.  He actually started talking to me first, because he heard us speaking English, he spoke very well.  But yeah that was Tuesday.

My companion is the district leader here in Oradea now, so we get to do exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  So they will be in town on Wednesday, and I'll be going to Arad again with one of them to work there for a day and come back Thursday night. 

Our English class started again, we have 6 new people in the advanced class and 3 new people in the beginner class.  They all speak English pretty well, and they speak Hungarian, and a couple of them speak German too.  And a bunch of people have called us Today and yesterday, so I think more people will come on Tuesday.  And they all said they would want to learn more about the church, from what they put on their sign- up forms.

That's basically it for this week.  It was kind of boring.   I blessed the sacrament again yesterday though."