Monday, 23 September 2013

We Have a Baptism Scheduled!


Me with my friends from Oradea.  I spent Christmas with them last year.
It's finally starting to cool down here. It actually gets pretty cold at night now. The heaters in our apartment come on in the mornings and evenings. The summer was HOT. Dang. I've heard its supposed to be a rough winter because last year was so mild, but we'll see. I'm in the market for a winter coat, I found one I want, but it's pretty spendy, so i'm gonna shop around a bit.

This week was a little more eventful. To start off the week, we had an exchange. I was with my MTC companion, Elder C. We haven't really served around each other for a long time, so that was cool. It was a cold day, but we talked to some people and had a lesson at the end of the day, so it was good.

Elder V. and I taught English on Tuesday and Saturday. We teach the beginner class, so it's pretty easy, and it helps him learn Romanian. We also got a referral from the office. So, we went over and talked to this college student who wanted a Book of Mormon. It was a little bit awkward, I think that he thought we were just gonna bring him the book, but we sat down and had a discussion. He doesn't live in Cluj, he goes home to Medias on the weekends. So we invited him to read it and we're calling him later this week. We were kind of excited about it because he referred himself, but it turned out to be a little weird. We'll see what happens. And yesterday, we had another lesson. He is an investigator of quite a long time. His wife is a member and they have a little girl. We went over to their house with the senior couple missionaries here.  It was kind of a get to know you lesson, because it was my first time there. But at the end, Elder B. helped us out a little (this man understands English, but doesn't really speak it) but we set a baptismal date with him for November 16th.  Little ways down the road, but he'll make it. He really likes Elder V. and the senior missionaries. He wants to finish the Book of Mormon first, so we're gonna start going over and reading with him and answering his questions. Apparently he's been coming to church for years with his wife, and he's had every lesson, so that's kinda where we're at. That was the week though. We were happy that a few things happened for us. Hopefully next week will be similar.  That's about it!

Way cool Ferrari that parks by our house

Monday, 16 September 2013

It's Starting to Feel Like I've Been Here for Awhile. . .

City of Cluj from the hill at night
Things are good here in Cluj. We had a pretty busy week. we had to travel twice. We had zone training meeting on Tuesday, and then we went to Oradea yesterday for District Conference. Our apartment here is kinda small, just a kitchen/family room, bedroom and a bathroom, but it gets the job done. We teach English starting tomorrow, hopefully some people come, we've been English contacting all week.

It's starting to feel like I've been here for awhile... haha. I've been here in Romania over a year now. I'm trying to be more patient, but some of the little things are starting to nit pick at me. I'm working on it though, so don't worry.

Like I said though, our week was pretty full. We went to Sibiu for zone training meeting on Tuesday, so that was a day full of bus rides. Pretty long too. Other than that we were English contacting all week long. Just trying to get some people at our classes, we'll see how that ends up tomorrow. we had a funny experience contacting the other day. We were walking through the park and this older guy stops us and starts talking to us. He just asked us all these semi-peculiar questions that were totally loaded to get the answer he was looking for. To tell you, the Jehovah's Witness church is pretty strong here. He at first, told us he was Orthodox, but then at the end of the conversation, he told us the truth. Interesting what people will say to get your attention. We both knew what he really was, because Orthodox people don't contact in the park! haha. Anyways.

We also got caught in the rain a few times, one time we ended up drenched and the other time we were close to cover. We were supposed to have a lesson with a part member family investigator, but it fell through because he had to stay late at work. We're meeting with him this week though. Our district conference yesterday was good. It was cool to go back to Oradea and see the place where I started my mission again. Same members, same building, same everything. I saw my friends Vlad and Anda, the family I spent Christmas with last year. We took a picture but I forgot my camera at home. I'll send it next time.

Cool experience last night too. When I was in Bucharest, the lady that feeds us, gave me a package of stuff for her granddaughter here in Cluj. So we went last night and dropped it off. But, to our surprise, she invited us in and fed us dinner with her two kids! Super nice lady. And apparently she was investigating the church, so we're gonna look up on that. We don't have a chapel, but we have a big house that we meet in. There are lots of members here, more than any other city in Romania. They're awesome and we have several families here too. But yeah, that was the week in a nutshell!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

I'm Doing Great and Excited to be Here in Cluj!

Me and Elder V. in front of the big Orthodox church in downtown Cluj
My questions to Austin this week: 1) How is your new area--is it a smaller town or city? 2) What's your apartment like? 3) How many members are in the branch there and how many come to church? 4) Are you enjoying your new companion, Elder V.? Sounds like you had quite the week prior to your transfer with moving into a new apartment and passing by a Pink Floyd concert. Have you seen the nativities you were telling me about? I'm wondering if you think it is worth $100? I would love one, but want to be sure that it is worth that much.

He says:
My new city is Cluj-Napoca. It's the second biggest city in Romania. It's really cool. It's a college city. there are about 50,000 students here at the height of the school year. I assume there are lots of members here, at church they usually have about 50, it's the strongest branch in the mission. Elder Van Dyke is awesome. We were already great friends a year ago in the mtc. He was in the group 6 weeks behind me and then went home while he was in the mtc. He came back to the mission and is in his 4th transfer now. So we're excited to be together. Yeah that last week was a joke of moving and cleaning and heat wave. But we're here in cluj safe and sound now. As for the nativities, i need to find out more about them. I'd only heard of them. The man that makes them is in a town really close to brasov.. so i'll try to find out some more info and let you know.

As for the week, not too much. We got in really early Thursday morning to Cluj and that day was unpacking, cleaning, and getting bus passes for the month. Over the weekend we did some English contacting, and just exploring the city a bit. It's pretty big. We had correlation meeting with the branch mission leader too. He's a way good man who has been in the district presidency for awhile, but just got recently released. The branch here is awesome. They are all super cool and just really easy going. They love to joke around. A lot of it has to do with the senior missionaries who are here. Coolest people. He retired from HP Computers some years ago. He actually signed up to go to Vietnam and tells us stories for days. He's a hoot and a half. Church was good too, I just tried to meet the people I could and make it a good first day. That's basically it though. I'm doing great and excited to be here in Cluj!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

My Six Weeks in Bucharest are Over and a Pink Floyd Concert

Me with a member who just left to go to BYU-I, and Sora Gorzo (far right).  We eat at her house on Sundays.
Austin has been in Romania for a year now--and has been on his mission for 14 months--crazy how time flies!  Here are my questions to him this week:
1) How was your week? 2) Are you staying Bucharest and do you have the same companion or a new one? 3) What was the best thing about last week? 4) Any new investigators or lessons taught?  Well, here it is September already! Last year at this time you were getting really anxious to get out of the MTC and get to Romania---now you've been in the country for almost a year! Do you feel like a native yet haha? Sounds like you speak like a native.

He responded:
Time sure is flying. My six weeks in Bucharest are over! just as we found a new apartment, we are both leaving. I'm going up to Cluj-Napoca, and Elder A. is going to Galati. I'm going to be with one of my good friends in the mission, Elder V. I'm not sure if I told you about him already, but he should be in the group six weeks behind me, but he went home while we were in the MTC, and now he's back out in his 4th transfer. So I'm excited to be with him, we'll get along great. And I don't speak like a native at all. I still mess up all the time. Being fluent and being native are two very different levels. And, I still feel very American. We stick out like sore thumbs here. Everyone knows... haha.

Our week was pretty slow again. It heated up a little and then rained, so it's been more humid than normal. Last week we ate out a few more times than usual, we've been packing and cleaning our apartment to move out and we got lazy. So one time we went out to Ikea and ate there, then the other time, we got a little expensive and had a burger at the Hard Rock. Best burger I've had in over a year. But, like I said, a little spendy, so it'll be awhile before I go back there. We had an investigator at church, he just kind of showed up, so that was cool. He's a nice guy, but he is one of the "eternal" investigators. He's heard every lesson from tons of missionaries, and just doesn't want to move forward.

Patriarch's Palace (Patriarch of the Orthodox Church
It was funny, you know Roger Waters? Lead singer of Pink Floyd? Well he did a show here a few days ago, we didn't go (Obviously, i'm not an apostate missionary), but we walked by, and there were a ton of people there. He did it at a huge like intersection in front of the People's Palace, they just blocked off the roads and built a stage. But we heard him sing "Another Brick in the Wall." So that was cool. We saw him for a split second over the fence too. But that was it, we had to get home after that. I didn't know Pink Floyd had such a big fan base here.

That was about it for the week. I played the piano again. My last time in the branch here. We're leaving to Cluj on Wednesday. I'm actually travelling with Elder Covey, my MTC companion. He's going to be district leader up in Cluj, so that'll be good. So i just realized, my driver's license is gonna expire before I get home, is there anyway I could renew it in case I need to drive here in the mission? I think I have to be there in person, but maybe not. Also, I found out that we can get authentic handmade nativity sets here. There is a man who makes them out of clay, dressed in authentic Romanian attire. He's close to Brasov, so if you would be interested, I could arrange to get one. They cost 100 US dollars, and he prefers it in american dollars. Let me know what you think.
That's about it for today. Next email will be from Cluj-Napoca!