Tuesday, 29 January 2013

2nd Week in Sibiu

Elder Phelps was a man of few words this week. . .

First of all, the baptism didn't happen. The investigator called us 3
days before and said he was going to Bucharest to be with his sick
father (who is 100 years old) and we haven't heard from him since. So
we are assuming that his father passed away and he is still there
taking care of his family business. We know he's going to be
baptized, we are just waiting to hear from him. He's gonna be baptized
though, we're not worried about it at all.

It's snowed the last 2 days here, and it's been freezing cold. But
it's warming up today so we'll see what happens.

The people of Romania are very set on their ways. It's hard, but it
makes the few people that want to listen and do listen mean that
much more. So it's still awesome.

The language is coming along really well. I understand basically
everything. And I can say probably 75 percent of what I want. I just
need to learn more vocabulary and stuff. But as far as the grammar
goes, I am pretty confident in it. I just need to keep practicing at
this point.

Below is photo Austin took of the Large Square "Piata Mare." There is a live webcam http://www.sibiu.ro/LiveOK/cam1.html if you're interested.

The Big square, where the ice skating rink is, you can see it off to the left.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Welcome to Sibiu, Elder Phelps!

Sibiu.  It is super cool.  It has tons of medieval buildings and
cobblestone streets.  Very pretty.  And it's all pretty close
together, so we don't have to buy a pass for the bus.  We just walk
everywhere.  The church is in a house here too, pretty big one at
that.  But it's been pretty good.  My bed here isn't as soft as it was
in Oradea, so I've been trying to adjust to that.  Our apartment is on
the 5th floor of a small apartment building. it's like a loft. We
talke the elevator, then have to walk up another flight of stairs.  It
has a bathroom, 2 bedrooms and a big living/study room/kitchen.  Also
it has those windows on the diagonal slants of the roof, so we get a
ton of light and it's a good view of the city.  And we have a
dishwasher! that's a luxury.  But it's a modern apartment.  One of the
light fixtures is busted, a lightbulb just exploded out of it in a
shower of fireworks one time and tripped both breakers. So we had to
go flip the one outside.  Hopefully an electrician is gonna come get
that fixed soon.  The landlord said he'd get it taken care of, but
until now, it doesn't work... haha.  Electricity in this country is
just sketchy.
Anyways.  My new companion is cool.  We get along well.  He's from the
Dallas, Texas area.  And he loves football.  He's going to try to walk
on at BYU when he gets home in December.  So, to help him get ready,
he has permission from our mission president to go to the gym.  So we start
our studies at 7:30, then go to the gym after that for an hour.  We've
been twice so far and we are super sore.  So we've been taking ice
baths in our big tub at our apartment, since the water coming out of
the tap is basically ice anyways.  It kinda forces me to workout and
excercise, so that's good.
As far as church business goes, I came into an area that is much more
alive than my last one.  We have a baptism on Saturday, it will be
my companion's first.  The guy is like 64, and is so cool.  He loves
the Church and is like the perfect investigator.  He agrees with
everything and was already following most of the commandments and
stuff.  We have a lesson with him today about tithing and fasting.
Also, we have 2 other baptismal dates in the city, so hopefully those
will go through as well.  Also, I got called as the second counsleor
in the branch presidency.  So that's interesting.  The only Priesthood
in the branch are us and the branch president basically.  All the rest
are inactive.  It's mostly women who are active.  But they are super
good at coming to lessons with us and doing missionary work and stuff
like that.  So we are looking at some really good things happening
here.  Another great thing about Sibiu is the Gogosi.  It's like a
better version of a scone, with vanilla pudding, chocolate, or jam
inside, they have tons of fillings, and they are super good.
That's basically it, I'm not gonna be able to send pictures this week,
we are at an internet cafe that has computers with no USB plugs.  So
we're going to a different place next week and I'll send some.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

20th Birthday and 6 Months Out!

Me burning a tie for my 6 month mark
Can you believe that Austin has been out for 6 months?  Wow, me either!  Time has flown by a lot quicker than I thought it would.  He celebrated his 20th birthday (and first birthday in the mission field) on Monday.  Crazy.  Here is his latest:

"It's my birthday! But din păcate (unfortunately) we aren't really doing anything fun. I'm getting a hair cut later, but that's about it.

But, on to the important stuff. The transfer board came out, I'm leaving Oradea tomorrow night. And.... I'm going to Sibiu! in the mountains! I've heard it's the most beautiful city in the country. My new companion served here in Oradea for 2 transfers, so we are already good friends, it's gonna be great. I was talking to him on the phone the other day, and he said I'll most likely be the 2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency, and the branch clerk. So we'll see how that works out. I'm super excited.

This past week, we had 2 lessons. One was with a member. It was cool. It was actually our first lesson of the entire transfer. The other lesson was with one of our English students. The same one we went to see play the cello at the Baptist concert thing. So that was cool. And her and her mom came to church. It was a pretty dead transfer overall, but we had some good things at the end. And, they tell me that they have 2 people with baptismal dates in Sibiu so I'll probably see my first baptism there (SEE not PERFORM) big difference. But it's still cool, because this country barely breaks 100 baptisms per year. Anyways, our lesson went well, we learned a lot about Baptists, and she liked church and wants to come again and learn more. Hopefully my current companion can get moving forward with her after I leave. Also, my current will be training a new missionary this coming transfer in Oradea. He will only be in his 5th transfer, and that's pretty rare that a missionary trains a new person from the MTC that early. It's gonna be crazy to come home and talk to my friends who did more baptisms than I taught lessons. Super different culture.

Not much else to say. I'm just packing up, getting ready to head to Bucharest tomorrow night, then on to Sibiu on Wednesday. It's gonna be awesome, talk to you all next week!"

I think he is really excited! Stay tuned. . .

Me and the Branch President

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Playing Paintball on P-Day

 Us watching The Emperor's New Groove on New Years Eve

Monday, January 7, 2013
So we just got in on the train from Arad. We had a zone p-day there,
and we woke up at 4 AM to catch a train this morning. We went
paintballing there and ate lunch as a zone. All the missionaries from
Oradea, Timisoara, and Arad were there. And at the pizza place, the
sisters in Arad found out that it's my birthday next week, so they
bought ice cream, and a candle and sang to me in the pizza place.
They are the coolest. Anyways, the paintballing was awesome. We did
it in an old communist building thing that was converted into a
paintball course. This guy had all the gear, and the guns and
everything, and he even took pictures while we were playing to email
to us later. It was awesome. But I'm dead tired right now. It's
freezing cold right now, and we've been on trains for 6 hours today.
While we were playing, I slipped and ate cement, so hopefully my
shoulder is OK. I'm pretty sure it will be.

Things have been slow as usual. We actually have some numbers of some
people we can call this week, so hopefully we can set up some lessons.
There was actually people in the park on Saturday and Sunday.

They are having to change our transfer schedule to
accommodate the change of age and change of time for missionaries in
the MTC. Missionaries learning Romanian will only say for 6 weeks now,
instead of 9. And those learning Asian languages and Russian stay for
8. Crazy.

The mission has taught me so far that there are so many different
people that believe so many different things. It's hard to respect
that sometimes, but, we are most successful when we love people. So
when people shut the door on us, we just have to say, they'll have
another chance. Also, I'm gonna have stories to tell till the cows
come home. This country is just so different, and things here are
sometimes peculiar and weird. It is an adventure everyday to be
submersed in this culture. But I've already had awesome experiences
that I wouldn't trade for anything.
We went to the cemetery on new years day, super cool and huge

The red sunset on the train home from Arad