Monday, September 16, 2013

Romania Week Two

Wow, I must say I'm really happy I wasn't in the MTC during that storm that hit Utah County! That must have been crazy, just having cleaned the first flood in our house and then another one happening!  The picture you sent is unreal! (See below) And, I love hearing about the helpful ward members, that really makes me happy.

50 Year Storm that Hit Utah Valley on Sept. 7th 2013

As far as the woman with her siblings, we never ended up meeting with them. We called her and she gave a response similar to, "I don't have time, but if I do, I'll call you," and we all know what that means.  It's too bad for her and her family, but I'm not discouraged over it.

I really like our mission president and his wife. It was Sora Hill's birthday a few days ago, so we made sure to call her up and sing the Romanian birthday song (which, by the way, is super long and weird ha, ha!). President Hill is really cool and gives us permissions on a lot of things because he trusts us so much. Like, for instance, as much email time as we need.  He trusts us because we always ask permission, so really, it's a circle of trust that has been built. AND (get ready for it), we asked permission to do a special activity for p-day today, and he said yes! Guess what it is?? . . .

Okay I'll tell you.

We're going to the circus! There are posters all around Oradea for "Circus Orlando" who apparently was on Romania's Got Talent and President Hill said my district could go WOOHOO!  I've never been to a legit circus before, and this is a ROMANIAN circus so I'm super excited. Elder Lake wasn't especially excited (who knows WHY, I mean it's a circus) but we're making him go anyway and he can choose next week's activity, lol.

Speaking of the Elders, they are such good boys. There are only the two of them and us in Oradea, so whenever we need help installing the water filter or moving heavy things to the apartment, they're always helping us out. Sometimes we wonder if we annoy them with all of these things, but I think they like us just fine ha, ha, and we're going to bake them a nice big red velvet cake for how great they are.  So I've learned quite a bit more about them.  Elder Lake is big on football and country music.  Then there is Elder Conover who always knows what he is doing and is extremely spiritual and helpful.

The branch is really strong in Oradea. I guess the reason I was happy hearing about the members helping back at home made me think of our branch members here and how they would do the same in a similar circumstance, even with only 14 of them right now. And the branch president is really cool - apparently he went inactive, but was called to branch president WHILE he was inactive and he came back to fulfill the calling. How interesting is that? His wife is still inactive, and he wants us to meet with her so we'll be doing that sometime soon.

Good news! We have two new investigators and possibly one more!  Our two new investigators are Maria and her 9 year old daughter, Gabriella. The Elders found these great people and handed them over to us, and Maria is super faithful. She believes everything we teach her, but she is also strong in her orthodox church. She believes what we say is good, and she wants to be a part of both religions because she is happy with hers the way it is. We think that what she needs right now is a really spiritual experience to let her know just how much she needs this church. But, she is a very sweet woman and her daughter's smile is contagious. Gabriella is mentally handicapped, but she is such a sweet girl!

The other possible investigator is a woman named Rodica who we met at the bus stop. We were doing English contacting (I'll explain what that is in a second), and she asked why we're here so we told her who we are and what we talk about, and she says that she "just went to a church with missionaries who talked about Jesus, and it made me so happy! I want to come to your church too." So, she'll be coming hopefully this Sunday!

We've been doing a lot of contacting. Because we're considered a "finding mission," a lot of our
numbers are zero, so President Hill decided to add two more figures to our mission which are "finding hours" and "Books of Mormon handed out" which is why we've been doing so much contacting. We have different ways that we contact: some of them are like English Contacting where we invite Romanians to come to free English classes, (yes, I'm going to be teaching Romanians how to speak English every Tuesday and Saturday), and we have a spiritual thought after to invite them to learn more about our church. Apparently it's really effective.  Also, yesterday we did singing contacting. We just walked around singing in English with a sign that read, "Want to know what they're saying? Come to English Class!" It was kind of silly. There are a lot of creative ways we'll be doing contacting after these English classes start.  I'm going to be teaching English to Romanians. I'm teaching the advanced class all by myself because Sora Gerhartz is teaching the beginners. That will be exciting!

So, funny story time.
On Thursday we had a service activity, so our district went to a homeless shelter to help out. We were all put in the shower area to distribute soaps, towels, and shaving supplies to those who came to get a shower. What's funny is that the showers in the women's shower room stopped running warm water, so Sora Gerhartz and I both had to go in to figure out the problem, meaning not only were we exposed to 80,000 degree water but all of the naked women in the showers as well. That was... well, there's not much else I want to say about that. Oricum.

The men are a little scary here in Romania. Apparently it's just normal for a guy to just grab a girl because Romanian girls will just take it and the men don't get in trouble for it.  I don't mean to say this to scare you, nothing has happened to me, but you know,  I really have to focus on keeping a distance.  And it's not like a controlling grab; the way Sora Gerhartz describes it is they just want a touch and it's usually just the arm or shoulder. But still, not okay.  So hopefully I don't run into any of that.

I do, however, see the way some men will look at me, we're very cautious of those.  I guess this comes with a culture where pornography is just so easily accessible, whether you want it or not. Which, I must say, I am super proud of our Elders here. Sora Gerhartz and I have realized that every time a group of us missionaries pass by a pornographic picture, all of the sisters turn immediately to the Elders to see if they're looking. I'm proud to say that our Elders here in Romania are super good about avoiding contact with those things.
One thing I've realized and I've heard over and over is that those of us missionaries in Romania are really similar personality-wise: we're all strong-blooded, stubborn people, and ALL of us are from European descent. I guess that's the kind of person Romania needs right now.

The language has been a little harder for me this week. I guess it stems a little from how overwhelmed I feel in this culture and such, but it's really not bringing me down because I understand that this is normal. I have done a lot of things that my companion and other missionaries say they couldn't ever do on their first transfer: I've engaged in conversations by myself, I've made phone calls, I've said things unplanned, and I usually understand what the person is saying. A lot of the missionaries keep telling me how impressed they are with how fast I'm learning, and I'm sure the same goes for the rest of the district I had in the MTC because we were all pretty much at the same level. Kind of cool evidence that the Lord is really hastening his work.

Transylvania Bank, where vampires make their deposits? :-)

As far as how I'm doing, I'll have to be honest, I've kind of been struggling this week.  Sometimes little things just stress me out a bit.  Elder Brundage is in my zone and I got to talk to him a lot about things, he says he feels the exact same way I do.  It was really a relief hearing I'm not the only one.  And, it was nice to see a friend again for a little bit.  I just kind of feel like I can't be myself right now, which is something I know will change with time. 

Anyway, I really do have to go now!  I am including a couple of photos of our apartment.

So La Revedere! Good luck with cleaning up the second flood!
Va iubim!

Sora Smith

P.S.  Here is the final Sunday photo we took with my MTC District on Purple Day.


1 comment:

  1. I have loved following the blog and will continue to do so. It's been fun to see the pictures of the district throughout the MTC and it will be interesting to hear about their journeys in Romania. (My son is Elder Cooper) I think the first 2 weeks has been interesting for all of them. She's a great girl/Sister Missionary.