Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

Romania/Moldova Mission
Bdul. Primaveril Nr. 19-21 Et.1 #13
Sector 1
011972 Bucharest

Email -

Monday, October 31, 2016

Life isn't a pony farm... it's better!

Hoorah for P-day! I always stress out a little because I want to write detailed and meaningful letters to you guys. To do this, it requires timeee which I don't really have! So I am limiting myself to 30 minutes. I have literally prayed to Heavenly Father to help me be able to write effectively and efficiently in this allotted time that I have. Here goes nothing!

Looking back at this week, I did so much. I traveled to 2 new cities, went to the Hungarian/Romanian border, went to a wine festival (no wine was drunk), mountain biked, may or may not have had a turn at a rock climbing wall in a park, ehem..., played pool, saw way too many drunk people and paint huffers (yes they do what the name implies), offered to buy a gypsy skirt for 3000 lei ($800), got my first Romanian haircut, ate way too much delicious Romanian food, and a whole lotta other stuff. I'll try to cover the most meaningful things that happened in this letter! 
Crazy donuts -- crazy expensive and not too good

First haircut in Romania - going European

Festival Vinului

At festival with Pavel (not a member of the church)

Festival Vinului

Festival of the Wine (no drinking)

Festival during the day

Hungarian pastry.. curtos calacs HEAVEN

Enjoying curtos calacs

Rock climbing wall... I couldn't help it -) I did get a cool contact through this! I try to find people through learning about things I am interested in.

So Zone Conference was this week. It was all the way in Cluj-Napoca...a 6 hour train ride! Elder Giron and I first took a train to the beautiful city of Oradea, where we stayed with the elders there, and then we went to Cluj (another 4 hours) in the morning. Elder Giron and I did not bring any rain equipment, and this turned out to be a big problem-o! It POURED! Thus, we were SOAKED. All part of the fun! We went all the way back to Arad that night. Crazy but wonderful day! All of the missionaries in our zone are incredible people. It was great to hear from President and Sister Ivory as well!
Inside of Arad Gara (train station)

I have learned so much this week- about myself and about my role in helping others come unto Christ. This week we taught Cati and her sister the first lesson. I shared to first vision, and although it was kinda choppy, the spirit was very strong. Cati said she got the shivers! They seemed like they were progressing and I was really growing to love them. Then, two days later, we visited with them, they had kept their commitment and everything seemed to be going great! Until... they said that they were not willing to change religions. This is a big problem in Romanian. If you are Orthodox (almost everyone is), it is considered a sin to change religions. Thus, most peoples brains are brainwashed with this idea. I was so heartbroken that they were not wanting to continue with learning about Christ's church. They said that we are always welcomed to come and see them. It is so hard when you have something that you know will bless someones life tremendously, but they decline the offer. So, I was pretty bummed out for the rest of the day. Elder Giron helped me realize that we succeed when we invite, and that we did help them come closer to Christ as their faith was strengthened. Nonetheless, no more teaching Cati. :((( The rest of the day was difficult, as nobody seemed to want to hear our message. As we were walking, I saw some graffiti art (very popular here in ROU) that said "Life isn't a Pony farm". I just had to laugh out loud and say Amen! Missionary work is super hard and discouraging at times. Life in general is like this! So... how can we get past this discouragement?

Life is BETTER than a pony farm!

Well, I got my answer the next day. Elder Day gave us a call, asking if we could come to Nadlac with him, Sister Day, and Sora Krnacs (member of the branch), to move a stove into Sora Krnacs home. We of course accepted this opportunity to help out! Sora Krnacs lives right on the border of Hungary (believe me, I wanted sooo bad to run over really quick to Hungary). If you saw where she lived and went in to her house, you would feel like a king or queen. Literally. She has no running water, electricity, plumbing, etc. It is just her, and her 60 chickens, some annoying geese, a couple goats,  and some dogs and cats. 
Sora Krancs street... SOO CLOSE to Hungary

Sora Krnacs home

Sora Krnacs (sorry its so blurry)

She has been literally freezing at night, as her stove that was made with the house (built in the 1800's) was broken. One day she decided to break it down and haul it outside. Elder Day found out about this, and decided that we need to get her a new stove. This stove, that was delivered to her driveway, is 230kg... about 600lbs. INCREDIBLY HEAVY. We had to get it off the truck, and into her house. I am pretty sure we had some angels helping us, because a couple times... well I won't get into details :) I am honestly not sure how we got it off the truck. We had her neighbor helps us, and he found 2 metal pipes in which we slid the stove slowly down. Sora Krnacs was soooo grateful. This woman is so independent, and it was hard for her to accept so much help. She told us at the end that she will think of us when she is warm at night. This just overwhelmed me so much. Here I am, depressed because I miss my family and people won't talk to me, yet I have everything I could possibly need and want, and I still go out and get covrige everyday!? It almost makes me sick thinking about how much I have. As I left Sora Krnacs humble aboud, a feeling of joy and gratitude swept over me. I felt true joy! 
Near death experience trying to get the stove off of the truck

Celebrating a bit too soon.

Inside a beautiful Hungarian church

These saints in Romania are truly the salt of the earth. They are pioneers. They sacrifice everything to be able to partake of the sacrament and be closer to the Savior. Some people, Sora Krancs for example, have to bike in the freezing cold, and then take a train to get to church, and then go do the same thing back. And we complain about 9 am church!

We all have so much to be grateful for. So how can we get passed feelings of self-pidy and discouoragment? S E R V E WITH L O V E. That's it! And that is what I am trying to work on while I am here in Romania. There are so many ways to serve, and not all of them have to be heavy like moving a 230kg stove. Just start with a smile or talk to someone!
Fancy meal on transfers day

Drumat... Romanian dish. INCREDIBLE!!!!

Really quick- I also gave my first talk in Romanian this week at church. Elder Giron helped me translate my talk during the week, super grateful for his help. I could feel the spirit testify of my words, and I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had to address the wonderful saints of the branch. I received many compliments :)

Pday [Preparation day - that happens once-a-week where the missionaries do laundry, grocery shopping, emails, and have some fun!].. Today... was INCREDIBLE! We found a Specialized Bike Shop this week, and made friends with the owner. He invited us to rent some bikes sometime, and that is what we did! 
Specialized bike store... rad! (this pictures is especially for Mike Stapleton)

We ended up doing some mountain biking in "la tara"... the country side. SO RAD!!! I felt like I was in Ireland or something. We biked along the River Muresi in fields of green and beautifulness. It was so nice to enjoy the great outdoors. I felt at home. I BIKED IN THE COUNTRYSIDE OF EUROPE. HOW COOL IS THAT? I still can't get over it. Mike (Bro Stapleton), we'll have to do a bike trip  to Romania sometime :)
Bike ROU!

River Muresi

Funny Minon hay tarp

Missionary life is just the best. It is hard but sooooo worth it- and I even fit in some time to have some fun! 

I still pray for each one of you every day. I love you all so much, and am glad all is well in good ol' Yakima.

We are winning the world series of family awesomness for sure!

All my love,

Elder Ditto

Tennis Courts -- CLAY!!!

Oradea Centru 2


Track in Arad

Pool with Manu

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and wonderful description of you life right now. Thank you Alex!