Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Full Week of Being Full

Family, friends, and fans,

This week we started by meeting at a member's house to prepare some Christmas songs for the coming branch party. Brother Moldovan is lead guitarist in a rock band and he wanted me to translate a couple of Romanian songs into English and sing them. One of them is called "Vis de Iarna" and it's about spending Christmas away from home, haha...

Merry Christmas from Our District!

I actually did not get the package, and apparently there's a ton of missionaries that haven't received theirs, either. There must be something wrong with the mail system because a lot of missionaries here will be have to get their Christmas packages late this year. Which is a bummer, really, because by the time I get it it'll be time to go home :/ Oh well, it's always the thought that counts, right? :)

There was snow in Bucharest last year, I saw snow for about a total of seven nonconsecutive days haha. There's apparently been snow there this year, too, but so far I haven't seen any. It's weird because this is actually strange weather for Romania, it should be snowy every winter. But it's been warm. I've been getting away with a light jacket. Haha, still dreaming of a white Christmas...

Arad City Hall with Christmas Lights

I haven't received travel plans but the proposed itinerary is that I leave on January 21st from Bucharest to Paris France, then Paris to Salt Lake City, arriving on the 21st of January :)

So for Skyping, does it work to do Christmas morning my time, Christmas eve your time? I don't know what your plans are going to grandma's house and everything but let me know if there is time your Christmas evening that we could try Skyping, and we'll finalize it next week.

So we just had transfers and our district is the same but we have a third elder, Elder Robinson.

Full story #1: (Based on the title of this email)  We met with another member who made us Carbonara Pasta and it was delicious... but she gave us probably about two servings too much and we got really full but we ate the whole plate.... and then she pulled out some clatite (Romanian crepes) and expected us to eat those, too. We talked on the phone with Sora Smith later and she said we sounded full. We didn't eat again that day.

We got into a less active's house! I've gone to this lady many, many times before and she's always rejected us. Well, we were in the area and felt impressed to stop by. She let us in and started telling us how much she has been needing us to come, and the only reason she rejected us before was because her family was around and they are super against the church. We caught her at a time when she was alone at home and she was relieved to see us and told us the times when she's alone so we can come more often. Goes to show you that you never can give up, ever, and to be super in-tune with the spirit and to do everything He says even if it makes no sense.

Wednesday was a little bit of a resting day because Sora Routson caught a bad cold and we wanted to take time for it to get better, but we were working even in the apartment. We took an extra map of Arad and marked all the sister members on it, and we're going to take rounds now to try to visit as many as possible before I'm gone.

We've been doing a lot of bloc knocking this week, however it didn't turn out being all too successful. We still go out and do it without getting discouraged, but I read a story from a past Liahona issue about Elder Holland on his mission that made me feel better. He shared about being a missionary on his first Christmas from home, and him and his companion knocked on doors all Christmas without any success but kept that Christmas memory of it's true meaning close to his heart. I related to it well, especially last year when I was in the exact same situation opening up a new area with only two members :) Here's the talk: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/12/christmas-within-you?lang=eng

We went to Sora Florita's house, and talked to her about her husband who is turning 75 in January and also has cancer. He's always sat in on all the lessons, and now he's decided he wants to be baptized. We attempted a first lesson with him, however Sora Florita took over a ton and we didn't make it all the way through :) But we scheduled a date with him, so Dan Ciosu will be baptized on January 10th, and they even talked about plans for the year after that to be sealed in the temple, woo!

Full story #2: We hadn't eaten for a long time on Friday, and as soon as we get home we ordered a couple of small pizzas and ate it all, usually we can only eat half but we were that hungry. Then we went to Florita's a little later. Bad move. Well, she feeds us a bowl of tomato soup, which isn't bad I mean, you can fit in soup. So we finish it and we're really proud of ourselves, but then she brings out the real course. Some potato sausage thing... oh my gosh I could not finish it I tried so hard. Fun fact of the day: Whenever you can't eat any more, Romanians will always serve you seconds.

We played pool (silly, missionaries can't swim...) for a sort of youth night activity, but the only ones who showed up were Ioana and the Piper's grandson Manu. It still was fun, and I forgot how really horrid I am at billiards but I started to get the hang of it and sunk a couple of pretty great moves.

We met with Maria again, and, well . . .  This week she is getting baptized!  She doesn't want to wait any more, even to talk to her husband. She will be baptized this Saturday the 20th and be confirmed the day after. This is it, what we've all been waiting for.  This will be the best Christmas gift, for me and most especially for her.

Sunday was really nice at church. I've been working with two less actives ever since I got to Arad, Elisabeta and her granddaughter Eve, and they brought Eve's parents who are also members to church. It was the first time I've even seen them, because they've always been rejecting us. It was awesome! And Maria came and we announced her baptism and the whole branch got way excited.

It's kind of unfair in a way, it's like finally things are really getting started and I've only got a month left :) There's still just so much to do and I want to make sure it all gets done, you know?

Full story #3: We were starving after church but we didn't get home and to eat until about three. So we eat a lot, forgetting that we are having dinner together as a district at five. Well, I prep the food (it was my turn to make the main course, I made ranch chicken and potatoes) and everyone else is starving but we're just kind of like, meh. But then we go ahead with this three course meal... it was delicious but MAN. I am sick of eating!!!

Which is weird considering I actually lost a couple of pounds over all this.......

After district dinner we had a debate about stars and wise men, which was intervened by watching the Christmas broadcast. I loved President Eyring's talk.

I'm sorry I've been slacking with sending you photos... I'm just always busy and then I forget and then I don't have time... but you'll see them all soon enough so... :)

We bought a foot and a half tall live tree and decorated it with lights and popcorn, and it's actually the cutest darned thing ever. I'm excited for Christmas.  Still have to bully the Elders into caroling with us, though.

Full story #4: Not full of food food, but spiritual food. This was a good week. I love what James E. Talmage shares about the Christmas event in Jesus the Christ. If you haven't read the book, I strongly urge you to read at least the scenes about Christmas.

Anyway, that's about all the exciting stuff that's been going on. Thanks to everyone for their love and support, I feel it strengthen me every day and these upcoming baptisms are in part thanks to your love and prayers and sacrifices. Everyone have a good week, and I will write again next Monday before Christmas!

Sora Smith

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