Sunday, September 21, 2014

This. Arad Is On Fiiiiiyarrrr!

Hi All,

About my return date ... I actually have known since I got into the MTC and I must have forgotten to say anything... haha oops. Well.. um yeah I get back January 20th :) so mark yer calendars.

Speaking of the MTC and Elder Scott, he actually spoke to us while I was there. I guess this is a sign we can repeat talks because that's exactly what he talked to us about :) [Personal Prayer with Heavenly Father].  It was such a beautiful talk though, and I read it again published in a Liahona a few months ago, and I'm still trying to milk out everything I can learn from it because it's such a good message.

Okay. Here's what you've all been waiting for. Dun dundun DUUUUUN:   The past two weeks.

We've been seeing Sora Krista periodically who has been in the hospital. She doesn't seem to be getting much better, but she doesn't seem worse either so we keep praying for her. She's been in for about two months now.

Also been meeting with Maria, who is still progressing really well toward baptism. She bore her testimony during testimony meeting and it was so powerful and moved some of the members to tears, one member came right up to her and hugged her after the meeting. She is so ready. Although we had to move the date to the 27th because of transfers and district conference.

Ioana is also doing very well. Last Monday when I didn't have any time to write home, we were with her all day. The missionaries in the zone came to Arad to play paintball and we invited Ioana to come with us because she's always wanted to go paintballing, and she's a shooter.  So it was perfect.  After that, we went with her and two friends from school to Lipova because they've never been. So we drove the drive, hiked the hike, and climbed the climb and Ioana conquered the heights like a champ... and I'm so grateful she didn't die because the way she was running across the foot-wide ledges 60 feet in the air kind of scared me :) It was a nice trip.

Afterward, Ioana asked us how long after you're baptized until you can serve a mission. I asked her why and she thought going on a mission would be fun :) So we're going to start involving her in proselyting and teaching and it'll be great. What's awesome about all this is she's already planning on being baptized, she just doesn't know when.

Sora Mogos, our relief society president, gave Sora (not me) Smith a list of less actives to seek out, so we've been working with her on that list and very slowly picking off the LA's. It's been a lot of running around in circles, but our efforts are slowly getting through the list and already we've been finding a few people that have been out of contact for a long time, and that's been really cool.

Lesson of the week: never ever give up. There is one less active sister I've been trying to contact since my first transfer in Arad. I'd periodically call her number, but she'd never pick up. I didn't even know if it was her number anymore. So I'd try morning, day, and night, and nothing each time. We tried going out to her house. Neighbors said they moved a long time ago. Well, three transfers later and I come across her name yet again and think, "I've called this number a million times and she's never picked up. There's no use in trying anymore." So I called anyway.   AND SHE PICKED UP.  And she was happy to hear from us. They've been vacationing in Greece the whole time, and if I had given up on calling we never would have known. So lesson learned.

I don't know if you remember me talking about Sora Piper, we visited her a lot my first transfer in Arad and then she left to Italy for a few months. Well, I got this feeling the other day to call her randomly, so I did it and she arrived back in Arad only a half an hour before I called. She was so happy about it, too and it was so nice seeing her and her grandson Manu again.

Sora Gerhardt's daughter is having a baby, so we got together with Cristina and tied a baby blanket to take to her in the hospital. She is also a LA member, so we think it will be great.

We had a sports night and played soccer with some of the Elder's investigators, from Africa, who of course are really good at soccer and made me look like an idiot. It was super fun.

We went out and visited a very dedicated and humble member who lives a 30 minute walk, 45 minute train ride, and a 30 minute bike ride away in a city named Nadlac. We went with the Smiths in their car. :-)  She is a great woman, living in the humblest little dwelling I have ever seen with so very little and all by herself. She says what gives her joy and keeps her going is the church. Sometimes she doesn't have enough money to get to the church, so it's so humbling and awe-inspiring to see her come to even the European women's broadcast on the 9th. I never want to complain about walking 5 minutes to church again.

The Smiths, Sora Cox and Me with Sora Lidia Tarnaveanu

We saw a free opera night by Filarmonica again, and it was spectacular. I was singing opera all night after that.... and of course annoying my companion :)

Filarmonica in Arad

I love hedgehogs. Apparently they're native in western Romania but I have yet to see one....... a real one, anyway.

So I don't know if I ever mentioned Letitia before. She's from English classes and we tried to meet with her a few weeks ago but she talks a million miles a minute so we didn't manage to make it a lesson. She was kind enough to give us some shirts, though. For the disco-tech. Super glitzy and immodest, and something I'd never wear my entire life, but a gift is a gift. She wanted me to try it on right then and there, lol. So a couple of days ago we see her again and this time she had a gift for the Elders.  They get ties. Lol.

Friday evening we left for Oradea for District Conference. I had my ukulele on the train and all the Timisoara Elders had fun messing around with it. Saturday we had zone training meeting, and we found out about transfers. In the evening we had a cultural night that Sora Geambasu had put together and it turned out really awesome. We had a ton of people representing different countries and singing or dancing from that country, Australia, Poland, Tonga, Romania, Hungary, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Italy, Ireland, I can't remember any more. So I pulled out one of my old arias and sang for Italy, and yes, I already know that I'm not Italian. :-)

We ate at the missionary"s favorite American Grill a few times I got a little sick of it. Remember American Grill back from transfer 2? :)

Sunday was District Conference in Oradea, and we had to take all of our stuff to the church because we checked out of our hotel. This is important because halfway through the conference, everyone could hear the little plucking sound of my ukulele which one of the children had found hidden among the missionary belongings. Well, there goes my uke.   I'm joking, I actually was able to get it back after the meeting unharmed *phew*. Not before everyone had to try playing it first, though :)

The conference was good, we had six members from Arad that were able to show up.  President Ivory seems to be very happy about the great progress in Arad. It used to be a dead zone, and the missionaries who served here knew that you don't get investigators in Arad. Well, now we have one baptism and two potential baptisms well on their way and the work is definitely being hastened in this great city thanks to the plan of our wonderful Father in Heaven.

Then we take the train ride back to Arad and I beat the Elders in a game of Hearts. They cannot stop my shooting the moon :)

Okay that's pretty much it. So now that I've written a novel, I really must go because we're going to try what is apparently the best Langos in Arad. So everyone have a good week, and I will write again.

Sora Smith

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