Monday, November 25, 2013

Someone Must Trust Me A Lot . . .

It was supposed to snow today, but it's just rain and it's not all that biting cold yet. It's thinking about it, though! Our proprietor was able to come and turn on the heat, so instead of freezy popsicles, we're toasty banana breads.
So, Fridays are apparently the typical transfer board day when they post it online and everyone finds out where they're going (if anywhere). So we were all excited on Friday, and then we are told we have to wait until Saturday.  SO, we wait another day, and the board is supposed to come out at 11:00 but right at 11 Google Drive crashes. There were 90 people in Romania on Saturday at 11:00 going crazy. Transfer boards are as exciting as cast lists. We went nuts. What's funny is normally English classes are on Saturday at 12:00, but there was a meeting in our building so our English class was moved to four. Once the transfer board came out by 12, we were the first ones to see it.
Some of our English students! (That's Maria and Gabriella sitting in the middle row on the right side)
So here's the news (and the explanation of my title): I am going to open yet another city! This time it's another 4 missionary city, my new companion is Sora Ralls, and two elders who I don't know yet.
We're going to a city named Craiova, where apparently there are only four members. FOUR. MEMBERS. This is what president Hill said to me about that: All we're asking you to do is find us a new branch president, a couple of counselors, a RS president and a bunch of members. Should be a piece of cake! 

I have my work cut out for me. President Hill must trust me a lot, I'm only in my third transfer and I'm already opening my second city. Well, at least I know how to do it this time. Maybe, lol.

I've met Sora Ralls, she's been in my zone, and she's really great. Bob would like her, she apparently carries a little ketchup bottle with her everywhere she goes.  I like her. I'm excited to get to serve with her.  (She is the sister missionary on the right).

Transfers are tomorrow, so I've been packing like crazy. Ask me how I fit all of my clothes into my suitcase the first time?

I don't know.

Obviously, Romania doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but we have permission to take extra time for lunch and we get to watch a movie! So Thursday will be fun, apart from moving into another apartment and seeing a new city.

So every day Sora Gerhartz and I pass by a store by our apartment with a lot of little toys in it. There was this one Spider-man pillow that, whenever we passed by, I'd pretend shoot webs out of my wrists (sound effects and all). So, last week, we're having district meeting in the church when Elder Lake gets up to pull a Book of Mormon out of a cabinet, and he pulls out a Kaufland bag and goes, "What's this?" and next thing I know, that spider-man pillow is in front of me and they all start singing "La multi ani" (the romanian "happy birthday"). That was a nice surprise! I'll be in Craiova by the time it's actually my birthday, so I really appreciated that.

This week was a little difficult. We didn't manage to get any lessons. We were bummed by Viorica, and then by Silvia just a couple of days later, and then Francisca had to cancel so Kevin could do some homework. So, no lessons, no progressing investigators, and I'm sad I have to say goodbye to the great members and Francisca.

The weekend has been a little crazy, though. Not only with transfer boards and having to pack, I was also called on Friday to prepare a talk for Sunday. I gave my first talk! In ROMANIAN! At least it was on a simple subject: Ce inseamna sa fie fericiti? (What does it mean to be happy?)
The majority of the Oradea Branch
I worked really hard on that talk. Not only do you have to prepare it, but you have to translate it and then make sure it's correct. I spent a long time, but it turned out very well. All of the members told me what a great talk it was, one of the bishopric counselors even said it was the best missionary talk they've probably ever had in that branch. And one of the members wanted a copy of it... haha, I dunno, I suppose it was good:) I'll type it up and send it to you when I have time later. I'm going to bake Elder Lake a cake for helping me, too, because he went through it with me to make sure it was correctly translated.
Me and a member named Anda
Last Sunday in Oradea with the relief society president, Sora Costea.
I think she's crying in this picture :( I'm going to miss her.
Me, Anda and her Mom
I'll try to get pictures of the Christmas lights in Oradea, but I don't know if I'll get much of a chance. I'll get Sora Gerhartz to send me some, though, once I'm gone.

So a couple of days ago, Sora Gerhartz and I were working hard doing a lot of contacting when we decided to go get some food. We remembered there was a new place that just opened that had "American" burgers, so we decided to check it out. Once we get there, it's not open, but just before we leave, we realize that it was going to open in just a few minutes - for the first time. AKA - Grand Opening. Total random happenstance. And then a Romanian woman starts telling us about this restaurant- that it is built by a man named Alex who came in second on the show Master Chef. Who is from Oradea. So basically, this restaurant is his childhood dream place to have a restaurant in his home city. And we had no idea. And then we figure out that the first 200 customers get their food made by Alex. We were just hungry and wanted something to eat, it turns out we are the first customers in a brand new restaurant, run by a celebrity chef, and he made our burgers.
The funniest part is that his first two customers in his home town "American Burger" restaurant are, you know, Americans. They were pretty good burgers. You don't get that in Romania.
Us with Alex in American Grill. He put his arms around us last minute
(I wish he didn't, though, so you could see his tattoos).
Later that same day we're meeting with a referral named Ramona. She's a young blonde lady who we thought we were going to give a Book of Mormon to, but apparently she believes that she doesn't need it because everyone is already perfect and God lives in us and that even stealing is okay, if you look at it the right way. I don't think we're meeting with her anymore...

So that's pretty much how this week went. I'm getting pretty good at the language, my understanding gets better and better.

I get this feeling that I may be perpetually opening cities for the rest of my mission....

Sora Smith

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ohhhh Myyyy - Mama Ana's

Hello All,

Well, the weather is really changing for the worse. It hasn't snowed yet, but it's going to soon. We've been having a lot of fog, which is weird. I've never really been in fog. I've been in haze. This isn't haze, this is really thick. Fog. Because of the humidity it's a very biting cold that goes straight through to your bones, so with the fog it's kind of like you can see the cold. You could cut it with a knife and spread it on your toast.

Our proprietor (landlady) has been in London for the last week, and it only just got really cold and we have no heating in our apartment, so we're waiting for her to return, to turn our heat on. It's harder to get up in the mornings when you're so comfortable in a blanket burrito when it's 0 Celsius in the room.

Transfer day is really close, November 27th. We're thinking that Sora Gerhartz will stay in Oradea and I'll move somewhere with a bigger district. We don't know, it's up to President Hill. BUT! I'd like to go to a bigger district. I also really love the people in Oradea, so I'm indifferent about whether I stay or go.

So, to explain the title of my email.
Over the past few weeks, I've had a handful of times where I've eaten at a Romanian's house. Usually they like to give me more than I usually eat, but somehow I stomach it. But today we went to Mama Ana's. She is a kind non-member lady who loves the missionaries and has served the missionaries meals for years (since like 2006). So we were invited to eat at her house today.  Every missionary who has eaten there talks about how great her food is, so I was a little excited. We get there and she serves us a kind of chicken Ciorba soup, and I was so proud of myself. I was able to eat the whole bowl and thought, "Hey, I think I really can stomache a little more!" (because Romanions love to refill your bowls when you're not looking). So, Mama Ana gives me another bowl, I eat it, and I am stuffed to the brim.  Then she brings the meal out. I had no idea she was planning on giving us more. She brought out a plate with three heapings of potatoes and a chicken schnitzel and I'm like... yay... more food.  I don't think I have ever eaten so much in my life. This was an hour ago and as of right now I feel like I'm going to explode. It was really good food. Just... so... much....

Speaking of Viorica, she called us early this week. She dropped us. It was going so well, but she decided she was Orthodox and wanted to stay Orthodox and not meet anymore.

Our lesson with Mihaela went really well. We had a member present, and she told a lot of stories that Mihaela really liked and agreed with. We feel good about her again, we were really worried about losing her, but the lesson went really well so we hope we can get her to come to church again and maybe have a good experience.

We had another lesson with Francisca that went very well. We haven't met with her for the past two weeks because her family has been on vacation in Hungary, but now they're back and she's been reading the Book of Mormon (yay!).  We had the restoration lesson with her. She didn't eat it all up, but she listened well, and to be honest, I prefer it that way. She'll only learn for herself if she questions, (the right questions). She committed to praying and continuing to read, we're really excited to talk with her every time.  We were a little worried that her husband might be against all of this, but we met him this week. He came home just after we finished the lesson with Francisca, and he's carrying a box for his 8 year old son Kevin with an antique cookoo clock in it. The whole family, mom, dad, Kevin, and 17 year old Eric are together putting the clock together and seeing if it works. The dad was joking around and having fun with his kids and there was just so much love in that family, we know the gospel will do so well to bless their lives.

We met with Silvia again, but she just wants to talk and we only get through a little of our lesson. We talked about the gospel of Christ. We want to start with things she'll agree with and then bring up the Restoration.

This week was Sora Gerhartz's year mark, so we celebrated by ordering pizza. What's funny is that we also ordered salads, and Sora Gerhartz got a tomato salad. When it came and she opened the box, all it was was a cut-up tomato. Tomato. Salad. Welcome to Romania. It was so funny.

So, I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of a prankster.
Last week while Sora Gerhartz was in the bathroom, I slipped the Vizante mask under the door. Scared her so bad, it was funny. So then before going to the bathroom, we'd always have to check where the Vizante mask is so our companion won't slip it under the door. Then I came up with a brilliant idea.  Sora Gerhartz was checking to make sure I didn't have the mask. I told her, "I promise, I'm not going to slip it under the door." So, she closes the door and waits for a minute or two before using the bathroom to see if I do slip it under the door. I don't, so she decides it's safe when she lifts the toilet seat cover and there is Vizante, on the underside of the cover. She had a heart attack, I died laughing it was so funny.

This is a picture of our bags of poufflettes and some ginger cookies taped to the ceiling. We ate too much and removed the temptation. By taping them on the ceiling.

This week with our English classes we got permission from President Hill to watch Tangled in English with Romanian subtitles. That was a lot of fun! I miss watching movies! And I love Tangled. And, now my hair is kind of like hers at the end of the movie....   Here's a picture of me with my new haircut.

So we've been meeting with a lady named Elisabeta for a couple of weeks. I haven't mentioned her before (or have I? I honestly don't remember) because we don't have lessons, we just walk with her and her dog. We count it as contacting because she is a lady who has made it very clear to us she does not believe in God, which is really rare in Romania. So right now we're just gaining her trust, and her dog Sindy really likes me.

If you saw me studying while I was in school, and if you were to see how I study now, you would ask who I was. I have become a really good study-er. And I learn so much. I've been reading a lot in Genesis lately, and it's confusing, but I have a study guide from that I use and I end up learning so much, it's really great. That's one nice thing about being in a mission with not many investigators, I get to use most of my study times for personal learning.

I've been studying in 2 Nefi this week, and there was a lot of interesting things I learned that contrast how the Orthodox church is run. For instance, Nefi is explaining the prophecies of Isiah and it is explained numerous times about priestcrafts and how many priests want not the glory of God, but the glory for themselves. That is so true of the Orthodox religion. The priests here are regarded almost as royalty and they just take and take money... a lot of the taxes here go straight to the Orthodox church. We talked with some teenagers a week ago and were happy to see how they at such a young age could see how corrupt that is. You have to pay to be baptized. You have to pay to have the priest bless your house. It's so sad, and so clearly outlined in 2 Nefi how it is not God's way (because Nefi delights in plainness, haha). It also says in 2 Nefi to not rely on the precepts of men but to rely on the precepts of God, and we get this response often "Well, I can't this or this because such and such, because that's what my priest said." It's just really... interesting.

So, that's about all that happened this week. It went by pretty quickly, we had a lot of lessons (in comparison...)! So here we are on our last week, I'll find out where I go on Friday.

I'm doing great. I'm working hard. I'm a freezy popsicle out here, but I'll survive. And I am SO excited for Craciun (Christmas)! They've already started decorating the city!

Sora Nicole

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slow Times in Oradea

Dear family and friends,

The weather has been fairly warm, but it's thinking about getting colder. One day it'll be warm, the next there will be a biting chill but it's gone by 2:00 pm.  Rain sometimes. Not really winter-y yet but I can smell it coming.  I got my coat, and it's nice and warm.

I received the Birthday and Christmas packages! I'm not taking anything out of the Christmas one because transfers are coming up and we're suspecting I'm going to be the one leaving. Thank you for the birthday one, though, I loved all the letters from everyone! And I'm planning on using all the party stuff when it gets closer to my birthday he, he, heh.

Kaylee and Evalee are just going to be chatting monkeys in 15 months when I get home. I'll have to teach them over again how to say how much they love their (still) favorite aunt.

This week was a little off. We really didn't do a whole lot. We contacted, but no great stories to share...

Every four Mondays the branch holds a big family home evening at the church, and that was last week. I understood a lot of the jokes everyone was telling! And then this young couple came in that I didn't recognize, but the branch knew them. Apparently the girl had been in the branch while she was schooling in Romania and her husband was with her, but they're both from Spain and the husband didn't speak any Romanian. So they came and we played some games, five languages were going on (Hungarian, Romanian, English, Spanish, and Italian in one room!)

And then I noticed - the husband was wearing a shirt with a tractor on it that said, "This is how we roll in UTAH" and I was like, "Woah, I'm from Utah!" He asked me "Where?" and I said "Provo area!" and he's like, "I served my mission in Orem!" and then I'm like, wait, what?!

Apparently, only a year ago he was serving in OUR stake. How funny is that? I didn't recognize him at all, but it was really cool running into someone in a foreign country, from a different country, who knows your hometown in a whole other country! I forget his name, though. But he's from Spain.

We met with Viorica again, and we had the restoration lesson. She teared up a lot, again. It went well, it wasn't especially spiritual but it was fine.

Because of the new missionary program, I had to teach a lesson of the gospel to an investigator, but because we have so few we taught the lesson to a member pretending she was an investigator. Sora Fodor is in her 70's and she is such a cute little lady! She loves cats, she has three named Pingy, Beans, and Nacho, hahaha. She loved the idea of pretending to be an investigator, so the whole mock lesson she says silly things like "I heard you guys are polygamists," or "can I come to church with my alcohol?" hahaha. So funny.

Not much else happened, Sora Gerhartz got really sick so we stayed in all day Saturday. We rearranged the apartment, though, so everything is new and fresh. There's a lot more room there now the way we arranged it, I'm happy with that.

I don't have a lot more time, so I'll just end with NEXT WEEK WE"RE GONNA ROCK IT because we called Mihaela last night and she actually agreed to meeting with us again!!!! Woohooooo!  And we're seeing Francisca again! Her family has been out of town.

SO, this next week is going to be a lot more eventful.

Anyway, gotta run. Goodbye! Be good! Remember to read the Book of Mormon, because it's really really really really really really REALLY important!

Sora Smith

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Ziua Mortilor! (Oh the irony . . .)

Hello Family and Friends,

The weather: is starting to get cold. Besides the fact that it is humid, the weather changes pretty similar to over there in Utah. Last week was actually pretty warm and I got away most days without anything on my legs and a short sleeve shirt, but the Romanians gave me weird looks and told me to put a coat on ha, ha. So I tell them "Sun din Utah, am sânge calde!" (I am from Utah, I have hot blood!) But this week the weather is starting to get cold and you can smell winter on the air. No snow yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came this week.

The babies are soooo cute! I just can't believe how big they look, I was expecting them to still be just as small, (I have no idea why), but three months is a lot I suppose when you're little! That's crazy.

As for Halloween, no, Romania does not celebrate Halloween (sort of) hahahahaha. At a market (Lidl if it exists in the USA) in Oradea they were having a "Halloween Week!" So Sora Gerhartz and I checked it out and it was pretty much random junk (like a cheese grater??) with a sticker on it that made it Halloween. You'd think that in Transylvania, they would celebrate it. No, I didn't see any vampires. So to celebrate, our district took some time out of our dinner hour to go to a shop called "American Desserts" and got a piece of cake. American Desserts, by the way, is super good. It's owned by a Romanian family who lived in the States for a while and bake sweets like we have in America (because brownies and cake like we know it doesn't exist here). But they do a good job!  (Oh, and I dressed up as my MTC teacher, Vizante for Halloween.  Yes, I still have the mask, hahaha.)
Gosh, now I want to go to American Desserts.
So, no, Halloween only semi-exists here, BUT there is a holiday on November 3 called "Ziua Morţilor" (day of the dead) which is not commercialized, and everyone makes and buys wreaths to take to grave sites and they think about the dead. We decided to take the opportunity to do contacting about the Spirit World.

We contacted for an hour doing bloc-knocking (which really felt like five hours because it was on fast Sunday) and we ended up in a bloc right across from an Orthodox church, so virtually NO ONE listened and we ended up with many doors slammed in our face. So, we sat outside on a bench thinking of what to do when a lady walks by with a bag of pouffletes (remind me to talk more about poufflettes in a minute) and Sora Gerhartz says, "Let's go talk to her." So, we ended up saying hi and she invited us into her home, we talked about Lumea Spiritelor (spirit world) and she was just bawling the whole lesson because she was so touched by the spirit. Her name is Viorica, and her son died when he was 32 from a freak fishing accident, so our message about the spirit world was just what she needed and we'll be meeting with her again sometime soon.  Moral of the story: Truck through the door slams and God will bless you with someone who really needs the message.

Poufflettes (Pufeletes) are the worst things ever.
"What are poufflettes, Sora Smith?" Well, let me tell you.

I don't even know.

Think of a Cheeto, take away the cheese flavoring, and you have poufflettes (styrofoam packing peanuts, basically). I don't know why, but every single Romanian loves poufflettes. I am not exaggerating. Aisles of poufflettes in grocery stores. A cabinet in a member's home filled with dozens of bags. Guy in the back of the bus? Has poufflettes. A pause in the middle of a lesson to run to the store and get poufflettes (yes, that happened!). And do they even taste good? No! So what I want to know is, why does everyone here love them???  
And then I realize I just ate a whole bag of those disgusting things.

And I'm going to buy more when we go shopping later today.

So, I have a really great story this week. Remember Kevin, the 8-year old we've been teaching English? Well, this week we met at their house rather than the grandma's where we normally meet, and his mom Francisca was there. Holy cannoli, that lesson went so well! We took the usual half an hour teaching Kevin, and then on to the spiritual thought where we talk with Francisca about our purpose on Earth because she asked us that question the first time we met. 
We read in 2 Nefi (sorry, I can't spell it Nephi anymore) and answered her questions, she was listening so intently. She is Catholic, but she mentioned a lot about her church that she doesn't like, and I think she is so ready to just learn more! So we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon to read. When we asked if she would read Alma 32 and pray about it, she said "I will read and pray. You know, you girls leaving your homes to talk about this, I don't know why, but I just feel like I really need to read this book." We never get a response like that! And then she said, "I hope you don't mind I won't just read Alma 32, I'm going to read the whole book." and we're like "WE DON'T MIND AT ALL!"

I think because I talked about people not opening the book in my last email, God decided to give us someone who would. So we're excited to talk with her again and see what she thinks. The thing is, she's not brainwashed by her religion (which a lot of Romanians are), and it seems to me she has her head on straight, so I look forward to seeing her progress. She's just so cool.

We had one more lesson this week with Sylvia, the lady who I mentioned before had called her friend who said to "not believe in Mormon, believe in God."  She likes to meet with us because we're her friends, and at first she was not interested at all about talking about the BOM or Mormon, she just wanted to talk about Jesus. So, here's how the lesson went:  It was her birthday two weeks ago, so we brought her some of the brownies I made. At the
start of this week's lesson, she asked me for the recipe. Since Romanian measurements are different than cups, teaspoons, etc, we wasted an hour trying to explain to her the recipe. Because I don't know how to describe how to make brownies in Romanian, that was a little difficult for me, but halfway through Sylvia's son came home and explained to her what I could not. He didn't speak English either, but he knew what I was trying to say. Anyway, when we FINALLY got to the lesson, I was super burnt out language wise, but Sora Gerhartz was linked with the spirit and really touched Sylvia's heart, and now I think Sylvia is more willing to open the Book of Mormon.  Every time we call her she leaves us with a list of things to pray for her (health, money, to find a job, etc.) because we "have more faith than her so if we pray, it will happen." We don't know if she will progress very quickly, but her son was really into the lesson and we think, if he is there next time, he can become an investigator, too, and help his mom out.  (By the way, he is the one who left during the lesson to go buy poufflettes.)

Anyway, those are the big events of this week. Things are picking up and I've been sleeping better and more distracted so my homesickness has gone way down. We're also going to try a new way of contacting, I'll tell you more about that when we get started.

Oh, before I forget. In the middle of my first transfer, I don't know if I mentioned but our Branch President Isupescu got really sick and hadn't been coming to church for a long time, then at the beginning of my second transfer he had to get an operation. For weeks in a row we hadn't seen him, but this last Sunday he came back and the whole branch was super happy!  A lot of branch members have had this virus going around, but Brother Filip came back this week, and he was really happy to see me. He is a really sweet old man who keeps reminding me he's going to make me Cozonac (a sweet bread) for my birthday. The members are so great here!  The branch is also perked up because the elders have had a couple more investigators coming to church. They are all so willing to help and build the branch, it's really great.

So I have to go (and buy some poufflettes) so I'll write next week, and I hope everything goes well!

Aveţi grija!
Sora Smith

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Slow Week

Not a whole lot has happened this week. We didn't have any lessons and we did a load of contacting... lessons make the weeks go by fast but when you're walking around the city all day every day, you just kind of hope to be sitting in someone's house talking about Jesus Christ.

I decided to make up a brownie recipe because I wanted to bake something, and the Elders, Sora Gerhartz, the training sisters, and the Romanians that tasted them loved them a lot. One Romanian woman begged me for the recipe, ha, ha, and Sora G and I ate so many of them I'm not baking them again.  At least for this transfer, lol.

Let's see... we had companion exchanges this week. I spent a day with Sora Heim and she's pretty down to Earth. We were supposed to meet with Kevin for an English/gospel lesson, but that fell through so we contacted all day. Good thing I got sturdy winter boots!

Although this week went slow, I have a really interesting story this week.

Remember my story about the Tramvai lady who said "In the end, the Tramvai will come."? We got her number because she was really sweet, so we met with her this week. We started to introduce the Book of Mormon when she said, "Wait, I have to tell you a story first. This story is real and true. No one believes me, but I trust you girls."  She continues talking, and I'm only picking up about 80%, but I start feeling something bad.  After a while, I wanted to leave and we had a lot more to do anyway, so I motioned to Sora that we needed to leave.  I felt peace again the minute we left that woman's house and I prayed in my heart for the spirit, and the Holy Ghost came.

Here's something that I learned a few years ago in seminary that might benefit a lot of people.  First off, evil spirits are real. BUT, they don't have to be around you if you don't want them to. The power of the Holy Ghost is so much more than that of a bad spirit.  It isn't until you consciously put yourself in an environment where the Holy Spirit is not present and it is inviting of those bad spirits that they can affect you. It's our choice completely. If you don't want that bad feeling, don't invite it. Simple as that.

So, the adversary really knows how the Book of Mormon works, he's trying really hard to get people not to open it up. We've had quite a few contacts where we got really far until something came up to make them not want to read it. I have two examples specifically: 

First was a man named Colin, who had heard a little about our church when he lived in Kansas. We talked to him and bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, and he said he'd go home and read it. Then, when we see him again he's apprehensive. He decided instead of reading the BOM to look up our church on the Internet and ran into polygamy. The Book of Mormon, the actual source of truth about our church, was never was opened.

Second was a woman named Sylvia who, when we initially contacted her, started to cry when I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it has brought me closer to Christ. We gave her a copy and she said she wanted to read it everyday. However, before we saw her again, she called a friend who told her to "Not to believe in Mormon, only believe in God." and she never opened the book. (BUT! When we saw her the second time she fed us and I had my first authentic Romanian dish! Some cauliflower thing, but it was actually pretty good and Sora G. keeps saying I got lucky because sometimes what they serve missionaries is scary.)

That similar scenario happens time and again, which really only proves to me more and more how true that book is. I'm confident, though, that when things start picking up here people will start to open it.  Anyway, that's how things are in Romania right now. Moving slowly, but surely. We'll be starting English classes again this week, and I'll be teaching the medium level. I think we might get a better turnout.

I've been feeling really homesick this week and haven't been sleeping well. I talked to President Hill  about it, and he said that part of the reason I may be feeling homesick is because things are going slow so there's not much to take my mind off of it, and another cause of homesickness is when a person feels under-appreciated. At first I thought, no, I feel appreciated! But then I understood what he meant. I do feel a lot of appreciation, especially from home, but I've realized I don't really feel appreciated here. President Hill said it's not abnormal for a new missionary to feel that way. (Don't worry, the pictures from home actually help my homesickness, I really like them.)

So this week has been especially hard. I'm still trucking along, I can make it with Heavenly Father's help. So yeah, the pictures are great. The reunion looked like a lot of fun!  Really, I just appreciate hearing how people at home are doing. And hey, I'm starting to tan from all this walking around outside! It's been pretty warm. Anyhoo, I'll write you again next week.

Sora Smith