Well, to the surprise of everyone in the mission, and to us here in Ploiesti,
NOTHING has changed for the following transfer! Everyone in the District will be staying here
and Elder Dearden and I will remain together. Nothing has changed with investigators either. Tavi is still excited to be
baptized in June.Florin loves to
talk with us, but he won’t come to church. We had a week of contacting and only two lessons. I
wish I could talk more about our investigators, but there really isn’t much more
to say! Things Romanians Say Yesterday, we talked with the most insane man I have ever met in my life.
We talked about the Book of Mormon and
he knew everything about Mormon (or at least he thought he did).Apparently the book of Mormon couldn’t have
been written 600 years before Christ because the man named Mormon was born 700
years after Christ, in Sweden.He then
explained that Mormon went to the Council in Constantinople (381 AD) and there,
he influenced Martin Luther.Keep in
mind that Martin Luther lived over 1000 years after that time.During this whole discussion, he was only
talking to Elder Dearden and left me out of the conversation. Why you ask? Because I descend from Russian Heritage and my
blood type makes me more suspicious, whereas Dearden comes from Italy and is
more receptive.We talked with him for
about 45 minutes because he wouldn’t let us leave. Finally we just turned our backs and walked
away. When we asked where he got his
information, he responded “that all this information can be found at the center
of theology in Bucharest.” Kinda
scary! Be careful who you talk to out there! Well hope everyone is doing well! Love and miss you guys. Elder Brown
Dann and Shauna attended Elder Barclay's homecoming, March 23rd, in Paul Idaho. Jacob's family was so welcoming and made us feel right at home. Jacob too made time, away from his family, to visit and make sure he shared everything about his partnership with Keegan, telling stories about bloc knocking, line dancing and English breakfasts. Keegan couldn't have asked for a better companion/trainer and is so lucky to have served a short time with Elder Barclay. When told of our visit, Keegan said "I love and miss that kid!"
Thanks to the Barclay family for sharing their hospitality, but especially their son with ours.
This week on our way home from block knocking, Elder Dearden and I were
waiting to cross the street in the dark and a car slowly pulls up to us and
gets super close to running over my toes on the side of the road. He rolls down his passenger side window and we
look in to find an Orthodox Priest who asked us "who gave you permission
to be here?" We replied
"nobody, do we need permission to be here?" He went on to explain that this is his sector
of the city and we weren’t allowed to be there. He told us that nobody around here wants to
listen to us. I responded and said
"actually, not only do we live here in this sector, but we also have
members here." The look on his face
was priceless and responded that we had no members here. Threatening us to never come back here or he
won’t be as nice! It seriously felt like
something off of the A&E show "Gang Wars."Apparently the city is on a system where the Orthodox
Priests split up the separate sectors.
Our investigators are doing alright. Florin still hasn’t shown-up to
church but Tavi is slowly working towards his baptism date in June.
This week we had zone conference in Bucharest. It was pretty good and President
Hill had some cool things to say but the thing I took out of it most is that
when we go home, we will miss Romania so much! When I entered the country, a group of Elders
left. Well just three months later, one
(Elder Cunningham) returned and sat in on our zone conference. From across the
chapel, I just watched as he nodded and agreed with everything President said
about the good people of Romania. He
looked so sad, like he was missing something from his life.
This week we went on a hike in the mountains. We had to take a train to a
nearby city of Brasov and then walked 8 kilometers until we arrived at our
hike. It was a slot canyon called Sapte Scuri, which means seven ladders. As you hike
through the slot canyon, you obviously have to use seven ladders to get to the
top and around the waterfalls. It was
way sweet and I took tons of pictures.
Hope everyone is having a good week and I will see you soon!
I received a call from our zone
leaders letting me know that Elder Barclay (my trainer) had a little bit of a
health shock this week and was given the choice to go to Germany and be
treated or go home and be treated.Because
he only has a month or two left, he decided to go home early and get treated
the right way. Elder Barclay had heart problems as a child and they have
followed him throughout life. When I was with him, he struggled with sleeping
through the night and blamed it on his over powerful heartbeat. He described it as a shaking in his chest that
wouldn’t allow him to sleep. Anyway, keep him in your prayers as he’s starting
to get treated back home in Idaho.
We had a cool experience this week on
the streets. This guy contacted us in English and asked about our beliefs in
Christ. After our discussion, the
conversation quickly changed as I asked where he learned English. It turns out
that he is a Romanian Olympian. He was a 4x400 swimmer in the 1996 Olympics when Romania
finished 10th. His best performance was in a World competition in Rio de Janeiro
Brazil, where he and his team finished 3rd. He now spends time teaching kids
here in Ploiesti how to swim.
Missionary work has only changed as
far as the weather! We haven’t done too much
more than contacting and teaching a few people here and there. One exciting
thing is that one of our investigators has a baptismal date! It’s set for June 14th, so I probably won’t be
here to see it, but it’s pretty sweet. He
has been taught for years upon years and doesn’t even remember when he was
first taught, but seems excited to be finally getting baptized.
Also, Florin still wants to meet
with us but still has yet to come to church. Our discussions may be philosophical
but then again, he hasn’t disagreed with anything we have taught. He is just a
quiet, attentive student with good questions. I don’t think we will drop him, especially
because he feeds us every time – Haha!
I've noticed that the warmer it gets
out here, the more fun and happier I am! I love the sun and being able to be outside. I’m
sure its warm back home and hope you guys take advantage of it. Romanians love
to spend time in the parks, sitting on benches, playing with kids and walking
Gotta tell everyone that one of my
buddies turns 5 this week! Happy birthday Miles! I love you buddy!
E-mailing from Buch again today.Dearden
has a cavity and his mom asked that we come back and get it fixed, so no fun
Had a few experiences this week but nothing too exciting . . .
On Thursday morning, during our studies, we got a knock at our door.
Elder Dearden and I got up and look through the peep hole to find the Jehova Witnesses
standing in the hall. We both laughed because we got block knocked.We grabbed our Books of Mormon and put on our
nametags. When we opened, the woman said to the man, "uite, sunt Mormonii"
"look, they're Mormons." The guy just got super nervous and told us
how glad he was to run into us. We respectfully let him speak and tell us about
their religion because we know how it feels to be on his side of the door. I
felt bad though, because his hands were shaking and we could tell he felt very
Later that same day, we blocked knocked into a woman who said she was
very religious! When I asked if she read
from the Bible, she told us to stay for a moment as she went to grab something.
When she came back, she had in her hands the largest bible I have ever seen.
Claiming that it weighed over 7 kilograms and she reads every single night! The book looked like more like a microwave
than a book - It was huge! Didn’t let us
talk too much but she was cracking jokes and said she was proud of us.
That evening, we were on our way home for dinner and passed this
particular bloc (next door to ours) on a daily basis. It usually has two dogs
patrolling the parking lot, but they’ve never bothered us. They must have been
angry because of the rain or something, because they started barking and
sprinting towards us! Elder Dearden used
his umbrella to defend himself and I’m embarrassed to say that my fight-or-flight
instinct led me running into our bloc scared! We continue to pass the dogs every day and they
haven’t bothered us since then.
Missionary work has slowed down again.Other than teaching English twice a week in our chapel, we don’t have
too many lessons. We might have to drop Florin,
the man I was mentioning last week, because he fails to keep his commitment to
come to church and to read scriptures. Don’t worry though, we are working hard!
Elder Dearden keeps us outta the house
and doubling our expected weekly hours. Needless to say, I sleep pretty well at
Things Romanians Say - While block knocking, we get some pretty crazy responses!
example . . . Lady: What are you doing here! Us: We are just here to speak with others about the Savior and offer
help. Lady: Don't people in your country sleep at this hour? *slams door* Let’s not forget that it was 3:30 PM
Well, my companion is having some dental issues so we are in Bucharest
for the day! Pretty exciting to get out
of Ploiesti, but we don’t have anything else fun planned. This week was crappy, no pun intended . . . On Tuesday I was crapped on
by a pigeon and the following day I stepped in dog crap! Talk about a great week! Missionary work has been slow this week.We’re offering free English classes in Ploiesti so we’ve been
advertising for that.We first have to
get people in the door of the church so they will trust us.While English contacting this week, a man
from South Carolina approached me and asked me where I was from. When I responded Utah he said "of course."Then he said "how do the people here
take to your religion?" and I just replied that people in Romania are very
religious. We met with Florin again this week and I feel like he is still our best
investigator, but still struggles to get to church; always says he’ll come, but
never shows up.
Nothing too special this week so sorry I don’t have anything interesting
to write about. Things Romanians say - When getting off the bus, you don’t just get off, you
descend off! eu cobor I descend Coboriti? You descend? Love and miss you guys!