Thank you so much for working so hard to make sure that I have a bed! It will be nice to have some place to call my own, without wondering if there are any bed bugs, cockroaches or other insects ;)
I would appreciate it if you kept a copy of those talks.
We are going to leave tomorrow morning to Deva (my old stomping grounds) and then down to Craiova until Thursday. We are actually meeting with the less actives who live to far away from the branches to be visited by missionaries. I am so excited, because it will be a great opportunity for Elder C to grow a lot in a very short time. I really hope all the members meet up with us. We don't have phone numbers for everyone, so it will be a knock-and-pray couple of days. We are hoping to have sacrament in Deva on Wednesday, which will be such a great opportunity for all those members.
To tell you the truth, I had a pretty rough day this week. It was an accumulation of many things throughout the week, but Satan really hit hard on Saturday and Sunday. We had set up a lesson with J, just outside of where he worked. We talked about the Restoration and had a fantastic lesson! He even said the closing prayer and it truly was one of the best, most sincere prayers I have ever heard. Just as we finished up, a man walked up who seemed to know our investigator. He said hello to J, and seemed to know him. After they said a few remarks, I asked how his (the new man) day was going (in Romanian). He opened his mouth and began the down hill sermon straight from the devil. Honestly, I have never been more depressed, more disgusted or more angry than I was in those ten minutes (if it was even that long). He asked why we were there, then told us that no one wanted us here, that no one cared and that no one can be helped, because no one wants to be helped. He tried to say some other things before I told him that what he was saying was inappropriate and he needed to stop. We tried to talk to him about his life and faith, just to find out where he was coming from, but to no avail. To this day I still have no idea what his motives were. It just went on for a bit longer, until I couldn't listen any more and we left. I have been berated, yelled at, mocked and questioned, but i have never walked away with so much anger. Usually I am able to laugh about it, or brush it off, but not this time. After such a good lesson, you would think that we would be very upbeat, but it really killed me. It was hard. My comp really helped me out of the rut as we went throughout the rest of our day. The positive to this story is the sermon I had afterwards. The next morning, as I was attempting to figure out exactly why I was still upset, a light blinked on. I realized that God will always win. I knew that before, but in that time I really knew it. God will always win. Every single time. Satan is fighting a losing battle, and he knows it. He wants us to be miserable, but he knows he will eventually lose. As I thought about all the things the sad man had said, I realized that I was so upset because I knew what he had said was so incorrect. Everything he said was meant to push us away from meeting with J. Satan had come into our path at such a critical time in our day, the time where we had just had our "spiritual boost" from a great lesson and he almost made us give up. I, however, have God, who has given me an arsenal against the adversary, my companion being one of them. As we were walking away, we walked up to J, who was working a little ways away. Elder C said "Hey Jude, do me a favor and don't listen to anything that guy says." I'm not sure why, but I feel as if that one sentence made the difference between us meeting with J. We have another lesson with J. We know he will be baptized and we know he will be a key player in God's army. God always wins and its up to us to decide which team we fight.
I fell like I am running out of things to say, or maybe I just feel like I can tell you in person in just a little while. Life is pretty grand. We might be traveling the country soon. I will tell you more about that as it develops.
We finally met with J. President purchased some iPad minis for us to test before the big shipment gets here. We were uploading some Mormon Messages when J messaged us to say that he needed to meet us half and hour early, which was in ten minutes. We were at Pres' house and hurried over to meet J. By the time we got there, he had messaged us again and told us we would need to meet another time. Elder C was really hurt, but we left the metro and made our way to the park, in time to see J! We had a lesson with him and showed him a Mormon Message. You would not believe how useful those iPads are going to be! I wanted to share a scripture, but we only had English...oh wait, the iPad!!! It is going to revolutionize the way missionary work is done.
When we leave the airport, something from Arby's and rootbeer, but you are correct for the at home meal :)
I was making a joke the other day that Mom had a paper chain for when I come home. Imagine my surprise when I got onto internet today and read that she has a facebook countdown haha! It goes slower if you do that, Mom. I usually don't even look at what day it is. That way Im not trunky and I don't worry about the time slipping.
Conference!!!! It was really good. I watched the first session and priesthood in Romanian, but then I decided to watch sat evening and sun morning in English. The signal kept cutting out, so we are going to watch all of the sessions on another day to get what we missed. The talks were really good! Conference as a missionary is super cool!
We don't have any investigators right now. We have been trying to meet with one of the investigators from Alexandria, but he never shows up. Sometimes that is the life of a missionary, though. We also talk with this really cool guy, J, from Nigeria everytime we head to the metro. He is very down to earth and humble. We are constantly trying to meet with him, but he works from 7-6 and has school after that. We usually just talk with him for a bit each day and encourage him to read from the Book of Mormon (Elder C gave J a copy the third time we talked with him). We also had two english students come to the first session of conference. They had never before met with the missioaries, but really liked the spiritual thought we put on. When we asked what they thought, they said it was different, but said in the name of Jesus. We still are unsure of how they took it. If I wasn't a member, I would probably think it was really different too.
Sorry I haven't sent any pictures lately. My camera lense won't open up. I am going to take it in this week and see how much it will cost to fix it. Shouldn't be to hard.
Life is pretty good. I sitting in an internet cafe at Timpuri Noi and I just got the new info for my homecoming. It is pretty crazy to think that I don't have much longer. I don't feel anything. Is that bad? I am not sad to leave Romania. I am not stoke to go home. I don't know if my mind/body even knows that I am going home...Ah well, what are you going to do?
We still don't really understand our role here in North Buc. We are kind of making it up as we go. We have met this really cool guy, J, from Nigeria. He works near this restaurant by our house. I say "near" cause he is actually not employed anywhere. He puts crates in front of public parking and when people come looking for a spot, he moves them. He doesn't ask for money, but lives off of tips. I can't even imagine. He literally lives off of maybe 100 ron per week, if that. He is like every other Afrikaan, however. Happy, humble and living life. He never has any time to meet, since he works from 8-8 most days, but we have been talking to him. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He really appreciated it and told us that he will take the time to "digest" it. Every time we walk away after talking with him, Elder C hums the tune "Hey Jude" by the Beatles haha!
Something that I am sad that I will miss is one of the things that we are trying to put together. We are planning an interfaith christmas concert. I am almost done with taking inventory of the entire missions talents (musical, artistic, stagework). I need to have everything set up and ready to go before I leave, or else it wont happen. There is a lot of work yet to get done. We need to approach the other faiths, find a venue and set up the missionaries. Its a lot of work, but i know it will be an amazing experience for everyone who attends. Think about it! A few hundred people, all coming together and celebrating a commonality between them: The birth of Christ. I might even try and come back if this goes through. We are going to visit a lot of other churches this week and talk with the pastors. We would like to find an interfaith council and meet with them as well. We'll talk with Pres. Ivory about it this week. We are hoping that the Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist and Pentacostal churches will join in. We'll see!
We have a few other plans set up, but we are keeping them a bit more secret. I'll tell you more about it next week ;)
First of all, I have to apologize for not writing you last week. I was packing and planning on writing you Tuesday just before we left, but the power was out at the church. I was pretty frustrated with that, but that's life sometimes. I have moved into my old area of North Bucuresti. We are in a "special assignment" which really means that we are regular missionaries that "might" do some different things. Right now we are working with the new senior couple, the Ss, and are helping them with a few projects. We are going to redesign the Youth Centers, which are located under the chapels in Panduri and Mihai Bravu. Other than that, there isn't a lot that has happened. We all went to District Conference on Sunday. They broadcasted the session to a bunch of other cities (including Bacau and Ploiesti). Apparently I am pretty tall compared to Romanians because I received calls from Bacau and Ploiesti with members tell me they saw the back of my head during the intermediate hymn haha! It was a really good session, full of amazing talks. One of my favorite talks was by G, a member in Panduri who has limited use of her legs. She talked about staying faithful during trials. Last year, she stood up without the aid of her crutches. I don't remember exactly what she said, except it was close to "I don't need to be strong when my faith is strong." The Spirit was so strong as she bore testimony. Then a young lady played the violin. She was amazing! She played "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." She was born in Romania, but adopted at a young age. I loved it, and I felt a confirmation that, "Yes, I Know that My Redeemer Lives." As the conference continued I kept thinking that President Ivory would randomly call on me to give a talk, so I thought about what I might say. He didn't ask me to talk, but in an after meeting he did ask me to bear testimony about the trials of members and my gratitude for them. I was really grateful for that moment because I had two special people in that meeting. G and M. I met them last year when I was here in Buc. We were preparing to rent one of their apartments and they were some of the most amazing people ever. Very prepared. They were baptized after I left thanks to the efforts of the Baker Family. I had the chance to talk with them after the main meeting and I shared my joy that they had been baptized. When I bore testimony and gratitude for the members, I was able to share how the joy of them being baptized give me more hope for the future. President came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my testimony. He told me to meet with them as many times as I could each week. They are super amazing. Its good to be in Buc, even if it is too big.
(Note from Mom: We received a short email saying that he had to pack and would email the next day. All we know is that he is no longer branch president in Bacau and is being transferred somewhere else for his final 6 weeks. I doubt he could write today because he is most likely traveling to Bucharesti, getting a new companion tomorrow, and then traveling to his new area. We'll plan to hear from him next week.)