Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Inmormantare si Urcare – Funeral & Climb

Well, this week brought some big changes.  Elder Slater Brown from Dallas Texas came into Brasov from Galati this week.  He is a tall kid and played some football in school.  He’s been in Romania about a month and speaks much better than he should.  We are now four elders living in this tiny apartment.  Three of us have beds, but Elder Brown sleeps on the couch.  No AC, no oven, no shower curtain but a lot of food.  We did some flex’n last night as well as leg wrestling, stick pull, and arm wrestling.  We had to get some stress out, but it’s more fun to have four elders in an apartment.  I also had 2.5 hours of conference calls last night, which was . . . 

Just a heads up, there will likely be no emails next Monday.  While I was in the office, President planned a mission conference.  It will happen in a neighboring city to Brasov, named Busteni.  It’s known for its giant mountains and great hikes.  We will be there on Monday and Tuesday and have two devotionals/conferences, visit two castles and go on a hike or two. There will also be a sick dinner held in a castle with all 130 of us, just like some medieval movie.  I will take a lot of photos considering it will be my goodbye to most of the missionaries.  E-mails will come to you on Wednesday. 

This week we attended the funeral of one of our members. Two weeks ago she had a stroke and was taken out of the hospital (Romanian health care system) and put into her home.  On her death bed, we went and gave her a blessing.  She was so grateful for us and it brought her non-member care taker to tears.  I knew she was better-off passing on.  I got a call a week later letting me know that she had passed away.  They don’t embalm people here so her funeral followed pretty quickly.  The family is orthodox, but they knew she wanted a Mormon funeral.  There were two talks on the Plan of Salvation, and the Savior.  Orthodox tradition says that after the ceremony, the funeral procession is led by a priest, holding a cross with the deceased name.  The family just kind’a left the cross in our hands and we didn’t know what to do.  The Branch President thought it should be my job – haha, so they gave me the cross and I just awkwardly walked along with everyone.  We get to the site and the hole was poorly dug.   We Dedicated the Grave and the graveyard staff was ready to put her in. When they lowered her halfway down the hole (4 feet deep MAX) they realized that it’s about eight inches too short!  They clumsily pull the coffin out and set in in the dirt next to the site. Then the homie jumps into the hole and starts digging more.  They try to put her into the hole again and one of the workers has his phone fall out and under the coffin.  So again, they pull her out of the hole and set her aside as they go back-in and fish out the phone, slightly covered with dirt.  Now at this point the family and some members were making jokes - "she always wanted a smartphone" . . . "she never really did have good experiences with answering or using the phone."   What may seem insensitive to us, is everyday speech for them!  That’s why I love Romanians - BLUNT!  For the third time, they try to "dump" her in (for lack of a better word) and they got her in nice and snug . . . AND SIDEWAYS!   They called it good and started burying her.  This is the most cultural and Romanian experience I have had in the past year!  The family treated us to some juice and rum flavored pastries and we were on our way. 

Nothing else too crazy going on.  We hiked again today and I think I might sleep for eternity.  Hopefully, I’m getting sun.

I love and miss you guys,

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