Sunday, March 30, 2014

Zone Conference, a Funeral, and Contacting

Hello all,

First off, tell Lara congratulations on her job!  Good management is just what that Kneaders KNEADS so I'm sure it will be actually really great!  If only you were my manager while I was working there...


On Tuesday we used it as our make-up P-Day since we were in Arad for zone conference practically all day Monday. 
Sister Lee and I in Arad after Paintball
Learning Activity at Zone Conference: I am blindfolded
and being guided through the maze by the Holy Spirit
Sora Hunsaker from Orem High at Zone Conference
We were going to play soccer, but the elders never told us when or where we were meeting, so we're on our way home from grocery shopping when I get a call asking where we are.  "We're on our way home, where are you?"  "We're at the soccer field."  Oh well, there was already people playing there, anyway, so we ended up not playing soccer that day. Bummer, because I really want to learn how before we meet to play with some investigators this Saturday. I don't want to embarrass myself...      ...however I don't know if there is any helping that.

So we ended up at the church... and none of the elders were there anyway so we got some covrig (pretzels) and came back for English and FHE. Lamest p-day ever. But I'm over it.
Sora Mitin last year

Wednesday we got a message from our Elders. Sora Mitin had passed away the night before, and her viewing was today. It was sad, but really, she's probably so much happier right now.

I had my eye appointment and it was just like any other eye exam office in America. I even had to wait by myself in some dark room for 30 minutes while some doctor was doing something, I don't know what. One of the doctors spoke a bit of English, and he was helping me out with selecting a pair of glasses when he asks about our nametags. I tell him who we are, and he asks what we do. I say we talk with people on the street.
"How do you do that without knowing any Romanian?"
 "Vorbim în limba Româna" (We speak Romanian.)
"Ce? De ce n-ai zis până acum?" (What? Why didn't you say so?)
"Pentru că nu știu vocabular de a cumpăra ochelari" (Because I don't know the vocabulary for picking out new glasses.) 
That was pretty funny. So we talked about our church a bit and figured everything out for my glasses.

After my exam, we rushed over to the cemetery for Sora Mitin's viewing. We were there to represent the church, and also to make sure that everything was in order so she would be buried correctly. The problem was, I just got out of an eye appointment so my pupils were extremely dilated. It was overcast, but I still had to wear sunglasses. I looked like a tool, haha.

Sora Mitin's Funeral

We stood around Sora Mitin and her daughter asked us to sing. We sang a few hymns, did a few magic tricks with her grandson Claudiu, and made our way back home.  Sora Mitin looked very peaceful and at rest. As sad as a death is, I'm so happy she is not having to struggle through her physical problems any more. We all said she's probably having a blast at the disco-tech in heaven.

That night the STL's got in. We had our exchange on Thursday, I was with Sora Tanner who actually is in her 3rd transfer. With the majority of sisters training right now, there had to be some young STL's made. 

Sora Tanner and I on Exchanges
Bega River and Orthodox Catheddral

The majority of the transfer though was spent at Sora Mitin's funeral. It turned out really well, Sora Mitin's daughter let our church put on the entire program. Sora and Elder Hunt both spoke, and I sang Salvatorul si Mantuitorul "Savior, Redeemer for my Soul" for her.  I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I sang that song for Sora Mitin once when we went to read for her. Both her and her daughter started crying, and 10 year old Claudiu was even touched by it. Sora Mitin said it was one of the most beautiful hymns she'd ever heard and she made me promise to sing it for her again.  Well, I did. Then the funeral-goers, who aside from our members, none were LDS, laid the flowers on her and she was wheeled to the burial spot and lowered into the ground. 

It was interesting to watch the people there. Those who weren't LDS had been bawling and the expressions on their faces were so sad. Then you watched the members. Even though sweet Sora Negriu, someone who loved Sora Mitin very much, had been crying, she seemed at peace and still smiled through it.  I guess this is nothing new, that members from our church have such a bright outlook upon even such a sad separation as death. But to see the difference in the eyes of those who believed in eternal life and those who didn't know exactly what it means was interesting. I'm just really thankful to live in the circumstances of having the knowledge that there is a life after death and we will see those we love again.

We were invited to eat out with Sora Mitin's family. More magic tricks with Claudiu, talking with her daughter and relatives, and then we went on to having an almost normal exchange.  We went contacting, we ate out. Again. And we took the STL's to the place where you can get hot cocoa so thick it's like you're eating hot pudding.

The place where we get hot cocoa as thick as pudding
Spring in Timisoara

While we were contacting we met this woman who spoke English and was very interested in our message. She lived in New York for 22 years, so she spoke very well. I was flipping through the restoration pamphlet when I ran over the picture of Joseph in the sacred grove with the two personages, and she says, "Hold on, that looks so familiar..."  She flips back to the page and tells me a story of a time she went to a meditation class. She said she'd never meditated before or since, and that she doesn't really believe in that stuff. But a friend dragged her there and at one point she was told to imagine the most peaceful serene place. She imagined a small grove, and there she was with God and Jesus and she spoke to them. It was bright and warm and she said the most spiritual she had ever felt. Then she pointed to the picture of Joseph.  "This is exactly what I saw in my vision. This exact beam of light, in this exact grove, with God and Jesus."  I told her how it had actually taken place in New York and she about fell off the bench. She talked to us about signs, and how she believed this was a sign for her and that she needs to meet with us. I even handed her a BOM and told her that it had changed my life.  "It has? This is exactly what I need, a change in my life."  "This book is yours, we want you to read it."  She held it up to her chest and so sincerely thanked us for it.

We're going to be meeting with her this week. It was the best contact I've had in transfers. It's those little moments in the mission that keep you going. Even just a little touch like that reminded me of exactly what I'm doing here. I'd been feeling a little discouraged lately, so seeing that little moment was just what I needed to get me back on my feet.

Demonstration activity in English Class

On Friday we had district meeting and kids English, and I taught institute. I taught Mosiah 17-18, about Abinadi and Alma. I also spoke a lot about baptism, and the promises we make and what God makes to us. I bring this up because two of the three girls were there, and we still haven't talked to Edina about baptism. The subject has been coming up a lot with them, so I wonder what they're thinking about it.

The three girl investigators and me and my companion

Saturday we went to Oradea again for a Relief Society activity with the whole zone. We sang, did crafts, played Jeapordy... and Sora Geambasu surprised us all with a service project making bedsheets for a kindergarten. It was a lot of fun... but it also wore us out. traveling always kills me. But I loved being in Oradea and seeing the members there again.

Sewing sheets in Oradea at a Relief Society activity

Sunday two of the three girls came to church! The third had a lot of homework... normal haha. But it was great to have two of them there and we even had a young women's class with them. We're starting them on personal progress. Even if their parents say they can't be baptized yet, doesn't mean we can't act like they're already members lol.

That evening we went to see Familia Crap. I finally got to meet their third and oldest son, Florin. He is very nice and speaks English very well. Their son Adrian is able to work again since his accident, so they are doing a lot better than the last time we saw them.  We talked to them about the plan of salvation. They seemed to agree and like everything that was said. Gah, I just love that family so much. I can't even describe to you how great they all are.  The parents are so funny. The mom, Elisabeta, was talking a lot about the Russian government (she loves to talk politics because we are the only outside world she gets. She has to stay home 24/7 to take care of her mother who has dementia, however you spell that). There was a hole in the center of the table cloth that Ormsby said she shot a hole through. Then she says something about wasting the shot she could have used on the Russian president. It was so funny.  We're hoping that the three boys Lonel, Adrian, and Florin can come to play soccer when we have the activity on Saturday.

My companion, Sora Lee

Today we spent cleaning the apartment, but later we have a soccer match to go see. I guess serving with Elder Montoya gets a lot of soccer in your life. I think I've talked more about soccer in this email than I ever have combined.

My District

Anyway, that's about all that's happened this week. This transfer feels slow but has gone by fast, I'm actually surprised that we find out about next transfer this Saturday. I'm probably going to stay here in Timi with Sora Lee though, so there's no anxiety there :)
I miss you all! I hope all is going well! And I'll write again next week!

Sora Smith

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