Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I'm Doing Just Great Here

I'm doing just great here. So I'll be an office elder officially on Thursday, when the other missionary goes home. We'll take him to the airport on Thursday morning. But this week was good. We were in the office a lot. We are starting to get lots of mail and packages. And there's about 50 different post offices to pick them all up at. We were doing that a couple days, driving around some more. We actually had a lesson this week as well. It's a little bit of a funny story:

There are two branches here in Bucharest. One on the west side, and one in the south east. I served in the one in the south east about a month and a half ago when I was here the first time. But, recently, they created a new group to meet in the northern area of Bucharest. The meetings are held in a member's home. The member who works at the embassy doing kind of what Eric does. Going along with the new group, President Hill decided to move some missionaries there as well. So that includes, the Assistants to the President, Office Elders, a companionship of sisters, and another companionship of elders. They don't have any apartments besides the assistants and the office elders, so they have been looking for new apartments recently. Well, they found one for the sisters, and the people who own it just started coming to church. They are super nice people. So down to earth and interested in the church. They love it. We had a lesson at their house, it was kind of jumbled, as he likes to talk, but we got through it and are planning on going back. They have been to church 3 times now, and every time they go they tell us they feel something different there, so that's cool. They are both about 50 I think, and their 26 year old daughter sat in on the lesson and said she was excited for our next visit. We'll see when we can set up with them again, they are pretty far out of our area, and don't go to the same church we do, so we may end up passing them on to another companionship. Anyways that's the story. They became interested in the church because we rent their apartment. Who would've known.

That's about it. We went to a cool old palace place with a lake today. I forgot my camera cord at home so I'll have to send the pictures another day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Driving Here is Hysterical

View from the roof of our bloc, they opened a new mall across the street, and they were shooting off fireworks, but I didn't get up there with my camera in time. Anyways. The mission office is on the 7th floor of the short building to the left of the big building with the blue sign on top.
So the scoop is, I'm not technically 100 percent in the office, yet. Kind of half and half. We have 2 other office elders as well. One of them will be going home next week, so that's when I'm in all the way. Right now I'm learning the basics from Elder O. So we're in half the day, out the other half. I drove for the first time the other day too, that was cool. It's been over a year since I've been behind the wheel. It's fun though, driving here is hysterical. I did good, and I'll get better as it goes on. I'm gonna have to learn all the streets and stuff really fast. This city wasn't very well urbanly planned. They built all the buildings without taking parking/cars into consideration. So now there is no room to park or anything. Only the newest buildings come with underground parking structures. Anyways.

I think the office is going to be fun. As office elders basically solve everyone elses' problems. We take care of mission vehicles, phones, visas, traffic tickets, health insurance, insurance claims, basically all the stuff we need to have to function as a mission. On transfer day we were busy shuttling missionaries around, moving luggage, helping them with visa paperwork. It's going to be good administrative experience I think.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Going Back to Bucharest to Work in the Office

Short update from Elder Phelps this week:
The picture is me with the branch president and his family. His wife is Polish and he's Romanian, and they speak English too.  Their kids are awesome too.  Some of the coolest, nicest people I've ever met.  I'm gonna miss them.

My questions to him:
So, what's new with Elder Phelps? How was your week? You've been in Cluj for almost 6 weeks, are you staying there, or will you be going somewhere else--do you know yet? How is your investigator doing with his progress? Is he still on target for baptism next month? Did you get to watch the rest of conference? What was your favorite talk?

District picture at the senior missionaries' house. We went there for lunch as a district.

Me sleeping on the train to Arad
His Response:

Howdy all,

The week was pretty much the same as usual. Our investigator is still doing great. We met with him again last week. He takes his Book of Mormon to work with him and reads when he has time, so that's cool. He still has his date for the 16th. We still haven't watched the rest of conference yet, we'll get there though. But the week was filled with the usual contacting teaching english, nothing really new.

Also, this week being the week before transfers, we did find out where we will be going. Elder V. is staying here, his 5th transfer in a row, and getting a missionary younger than him. As for me, I'm headed back to Bucharest. I'll be working in the office as an office elder. So I get to drive, do paperwork, visas, take care of mission cars, deal with cell phones. It's gonna be crazy. The office elders are basically the bridge between the English speaking office staff, and the Romanian speaking Romania. I'm excited for it.

That's about all that's new though, I  know it's short, but that's the kind of week it was ya know? We get on a train from Cluj to Bucharest tomorrow night, and we'll be back in Bucharest in the morning on Wednesday!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Short Video of the Salt Mine in Turda, Romania (Warning: viewing this video may cause motion sickness!)

Here is a little clip of video that Austin sent from his trip to the Salt Mine on P-Day.  Kind of cool to hear his voice!

Today was a Cool P-Day and P.S. Could You Send a Chick-Fil-A #1 with a Large Lemonade and Extra Fry Sauce!

This week was kind of messed up, because I wrote you on Tuesday or Wednesday, I can't even remember. Zone Conference threw a wrench in our week. It's cooling off as well here. Frost on the cars and the grass in the mornings, winter is on the way. Apparently it snowed in Brasov last week. I've heard that people are saying that its supposed to be a really cold winter, not sure why, but that's word on the street. We had general conference this weekend, and our investigator's wife and daughter were sick, and Saturday is really the only day we can meet with him, so we didn't get to meet with him. We have heard, that he takes his Book of Mormon to work with him and reads when he has extra time, so that was reassuring to hear.

We got to watch the two morning sessions of conference, because of the time difference, they start at 7pm. So we watched Saturday morning session on Saturday night, and Sunday morning on Sunday night. They moved church to 5:30pm, we had sacrament till 6:30, then watched conference from 7 till 9. We will watch the other sessions when we can during study times and such, we download them and play them on our DVD player, and I think the branch will show them over the next few weeks as well. I haven't heard Elder Holland's talk yet, but I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk about people in the Church aren't perfect but the Gospel is, and him inviting everyone to come and see what the Church is all about. Also the fact that we don't try to force anything upon anyone, that the Church respects agency 100 percent.

Our conference viewing set up, the tv hooked to the computer, we watched it over the internet with the senior couple here, and the rest of the district.  We watched it in English up in the branch president's office, and everyone else watched in Romanian downstairs on the projector.
Today was a pretty cool P-Day. We went to a town called Turda, about 30 minutes south of Cluj. There is a huge salt mine there that you can walk through. It was really neat. They had cut out this huge cavern underground and they have tons of things in there. They have a sports court, ping-pong, a mini bowling alley, a ferris wheel, and like boats you can row around the little lake at the bottom. All the structure is made of wood, because metal rusts too fast in a salt mine. I'll attach a picture for you to see. After we explored the mine for a few hours, we ate lunch at a restaurant in the town and took the bus back. It was fun. I also emailed you a little video of the inside of the cave, hopefully you get that.

I don't really need anything. If someone insists on sending something, tell them peanut butter, hi-chews, fun fetti cake, or a Chick-Fil-A number 1 with a large lemonade and extra fry sauce.
Our district in the bottom of the salt mine

Bridge of wood at the very bottom

Friday, 4 October 2013

This Week was Long it Seemed Like!

It's starting to cool off here a ton. We still only have one guy who we are teaching right now.

This week was long it seemed like. At the first of the week, we had visit with the branch president and his family. He has a Polish wife and two kids. Their kids are pretty crazy. But, the speak English, Polish, and Romanian. We had a nice visit with them. It was mostly to get to know them, since mostly likely Elder V. will be leaving and I'll be staying. Their name is Iepure, which means "rabbit." so that's funny. They are awesome though. They both speak English too. They fed us and we had a spiritual thought and chatted for a bit.

Along with that we've just had lots of contacting going. We handed out a Book of Mormon on Wednesday and talked to a bunch of people. That's basically what the week was, contacting. On Friday though we had an elders quorum activity. We all got together and went out for pizza. It was fun to get with some of the members outside of just Sundays. We also had another lesson on Saturday with our investigator who has the baptismal date. His wife fed us, and we went over what he read in the Book of Mormon.

When the weekend came, we went to church then after, got on the train to Arad. Our zone conference was there yesterday, about a 5 hour trip. The meeting was good, they are always long though. Started at 8:30 and ended at 4, with a lunch in the middle. They broke it up well, and we made it out alive. There weren't any trains to go back yesterday, so we left Arad this morning and got back to Cluj a few hours ago. The meeting was all about how our mission is a finding mission. We don't teach lots of lessons, or baptize lots of people. We just go out and try to find people that will listen. That's basically every day (among meetings, lessons, etc.). That's about it though! Talk to you next week.