Monday, June 30, 2014

Soare și niciun nor pe cer? Probabil va ploua (Sun and not a cloud in the sky? Perhaps it will rain)

Hello all,

Actually, I don't know if I've received the package you sent yet because nobody from my district has been down to Buch because no one was switched out, and no one's come up here so I won't find out for a couple more weeks, even.

President and Sora Ivory
The New Mission President and his wife, the Ivory's came in.  I have yet to hear anything about them though, but I have an old companion in Buch that's going to give me all the details when she goes on an exchange with Sora Ivory tomorrow. lol.
I can't believe I'm almost to my year mark, too. I still feel like a new missionary. I realized (did I already mention this?) that after this transfer is over, there will only be three missionaries ahead of me in the mission. THREE. I thought I was a boboaca (Freshman) but really I'm just a baba! (Old Woman) D:

Haha, is there a convenience store near where I live? Haha........In romania there are these "alimentars" which appear pretty much every other street. You are within 5 minutes walking distance of an alimentar at any given moment and at any given location, unless you're in the boonies, in that case it's like a 30 minute walk. They've got the necessities... milk, bread, chocolate, poufflettes. Kind of like 7-11 without the magic of Slurpee and cleanliness (did she just call 7-11 clean?).

No, my companion doesn't have a blog, but I'm stealing her photos anyway, we're just both really bad at taking pictures -_- ...I've been trying, I just always forget :)  Here's some photos we took with the Elders at the last Zone Conference with the Hills.

ADAM HAS A BEARD? I audibly gasped when I saw the pictures... the yard looks super different, too, it took a second for me to realize where that was. THAT SCARES ME.

Eight missionaries per side of the family! I don't think it's just a coincidence that my age group has the most in cousins, and that the age change happened at our convenience.

Picture I tool of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Arad

Here are some thoughts about revelation and the church: I've seen a lot of church corruption here in Romania. The orthodox church, which is run by the precepts of man, makes people pay if they want a blessing. Baptisms cost money. If you want a public opinion, you have to be orthodox (and you have to have money). And the doctrine they teach, although there is truth, it's filled with lies (I read passages out of an orthodox bible the other day, gosh I was shocked at the things they added that I've never even heard of before.) Even if you're not orthodox, you fund the church through taxes. The rights of the people in the orthodox church are overlooked as the people in high positions seek more power. (Sounds a little like the later chapters of 2 Nephi, doesn't it?)  So it makes me sad when we have people at home pushing the church about "rights," when they don't realize what a beautiful organization is God's one and true church. Yes, man is imperfect, yes, man is all God has to work with in running His church on earth. But God's church is designed to be perfect when it works as it should.  I really love what M. Russel Ballard said about this in a Liahona a while back:

Anyway, on to my week.
We visited a referral given to us by the elders, it was a gypsy woman named Mariana who they met when they were trying to buy gypsy skirts for a leaving missionary. Well, she was really cool and loves Jesus and loves to study the bible, and one thing nice is that she was really excited to hear about another book about Jesus Christ. That doesn't happen very often in Romania. She and her 10 yaer old daughter both gratefully took a BOM and we're going to go have a picnic with them later this week. Yay, we have an investigator!

We also have been meeting with an English student, Vera, but things don't seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon with her. We're doing 30/30's with English, but she's only interested in the free English lessons, and she's very strong orthodox so she's willing to argue every point of doctrine. But, she's taught me something very valuable. Through teaching her, I've realized that it doesn't matter what proofs you can make, what arguments you have, how cool a "no duh" statement is, none of that is going to convert a person. You can be a smooth talker and good debater, but that doesn't mean anything compared to the simple whispers of the spirit to the person's heart. We can argue with Vera all day long, really, we've spent a good sum of seven hours arguing with her this week. But that's not how conversion happens. You just need to state the simple truths of the gospel, you don't have to be a rehearsed scholar of doctrine and speaking. And the spirit will do the rest. If they still don't convert, it's because they don't want to and you've done your part.

So we're probably going to drop with Vera because we've given her a fair warning, and until she's willing to listen to the spirit, we don't have time to sit and argue because that does nothing. That, and she's trying to convince us to rub chopped onion on our skin because it will prevent cancer.

Possibly the Doorway to Nicole's Apartment?

We met with a couple of less actives. Paula, again, who works on Sundays and we talked about God providing ways for us to keep His commandments, and if she can find any way to allow her to come to church, and what we can do to help. But she's insistent in saying there's no possible way, and she doesn't want our help. We still offer her our love and try to work with her.
Also we met with Florita, who can't come due to having cancer. Apparently the sisters used to go to her every week, but for some reason dropped it and I was never informed about her, and she calls one day really angry saying, "I'm lonely, why aren't you coming to me anymore?!" Sorry! But she is so nice and gives us weird health food. Soy patty bagel sanwiches are.... so nasty.

Well, I brought up to our district leader that I think we could be a more united district and that I want to be better friends with all of them. He said he agreed, but nothing's really changed. They invited us to go out and get sandwiches today, though, that was nice.

At the kid's service, I presented a spiritual thought about the armor of God where I drew a soldier who didn't have any armor, and I had envelopes with the pieces of armor inside and as I read Ephesians 6, the kids would open the "faith" envelope and stick the little shield on. It was really fun.

Anyway, those are the big things of this week. Things are slowly improving, I've been healthy, it's been really hot and humid except for random 10 minute rainstorms, and I can't believe I'm so close to one year! This isn't real!

Your #1 fan, Sora Smith

P.S. Shout out to O, you little blog stalker

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