Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

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

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Monday, December 12, 2016

A Tale of Faith

Buna ziua prieteni și familie!

This week was a crazy week! I want to start this letter off with a topic that was on my mind all week...Faith in Jesus Christ! This week I really tried to get a better understanding of this principle and how I can really show my faith in Jesus Christ.  This all started with a million dollar question... What does faith in Jesus Christ even mean? Take a moment to think about what faith in Jesus Christ means to you..........................................................................................................................

So it all started with bumping into an old man on the tramvai [train], who after a nice long conversation, ended the conversation by offering to hook me up with his grand daughter! Now, a couple of weeks ago, I would have just shook my head like an innocent little boy, but I know some Romanian now and I understood the offer... As good looking as she was (hahahaha - just kidding I am a missionary) I kindly declined saying that as a missionary I need to be focused! The blessing of this experience is that I could understand what the dude was saying! The Lord is truly helping me (in His time) learn Romanian. I feel like I am a little better everyday and try to use Romanian at every opportunity. I even translated for Sora Day in sacrament meeting! I am determined to grab this language by the horns.

Another funny little story, I decided to talk with a little gypsy family while waiting for the tramvai, hoping that they wouldn't just lead the conversation into money... and they did... the lady was trying to sell me Disney princess perfume! Ha! 
Ping pong with Rafi

So this week was a balance of missionary work and branch presidency work. I have really enjoyed learning about how the leadership of the church works ( I am even reading Handbook 2!) Elder Giron and work pretty closely with Elder and Sister Day (The incredible senior couple) to visit members, make sure the church building is functioning properly, we do tithing, tithing settlements, prepare financial audits, amend the member list, etc. 

We visited some great members this week. The members here are so strong, and I have been so blessed by their examples. We visited one lady who is the only member of her family, and her parents basically disowned her for choosing to go to church. She has some crazy boys and her 7 year-old, Luca, is a ball of fire! He and I did math equations and played tic-tac-toe while the others talked. So fun!
Pizza night with the Manus and the Days

We also had a pizza game-night for two less-actives boys. We watched The Hope of God's Light and then had a serious game of Jenga with delicious homemade pizza made by the Days. We had so much fun and one of the boys texted us after saying that he felt closer to God during the game night.  SUCCESS!!! I did a little heal click because that was the whole purpose of the event! It is wonderful seeing the changes, small yet profound, that people have made as we strive to love them and help them build their relationship with God.
31 blocks high!

Manu focusing

During church a lady asked for a blessing and I had the opportunity to anoint her with the oil. For some strange reason I put the oil on the top of her forehead and straight from the vial... well, by the end of the blessing, she had gold "sweat" running down her forehead! I felt really bad but it was also kind of funny. Elder Day reminded me of the proper way to do it and I can promise you that I will never make that mistake again! During the blessing, though, I could feel the power in Elder Days' words and I received another witness that the priesthood power is REAL.  I felt that confirmation so strong. I am so thankful to be a holder of the power of God. This is the greatest responsibility!

On Friday, we got a call from the Sisters that Sora Sabou died. (The One who I read to and she fell asleep).This was very sad news and the next two days were spent in preparation for her funeral. Elder Giron and I ran around like crazy designing funeral programs, translating for Elder Day as he met with the family to establish plans, attending the funeral, etc... Several things did not go our way, but the funeral ended up being a success, and the family was very appreciative. Although those days weren't really spend doing much proselyting, we were serving a family in need, and I had moments where I couldn't help but smile, knowing that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and am ministering as He would minister. This was I think the second funeral I have ever attended and the first one I have helped plan haha. The family pays a funeral company to host the funeral service and also takes the body to the cemetery. Everyone buys huge "crowns" (big wreaths with flowers and ribbons) and pile it on top of the grave during the burial part of the service. There was a lot of weeping but the talks were given by members of our branch and there was a feeling of hope and love, that comes from knowing of God's plan for His children. 

Oh, there was so much running around and serving and praying and enduring and it was awesome. However, I was so exhausted the past couple of nights that I started snoring during one of my prayers before bed and Elder Giron had to wake me up! That was actually an incredible feeling because I knew that I had served the Lord with all of my might. Sleep goes by way to fast but I am so thankful that the Lord gives me strength to do all that He would have me do.
a relaxing pday... jamming on the guitars!

And the last sight I saw as we walked back to our apartment from a funeral in Romania was a dude peeing on a building, saying "Scuze baieti!" Oh, just another day in Romania!

As I thought about all of these events, I realized what faith in Jesus Christ means...and how I can show my faith in him. My FAITH in Christ- that he is my Savior and trusting that His way is the best way- is what leads me to my service that I render to His children here in Romania. Because I have faith in Christ, He is using me to do His work in Arad, and He is molding me into a more Christlike person. I am thankful that I can see my faith in action everyday, and for the opportunity to serve the Master every day!

Think about how you can strengthen your faith and put it into action this Christmas season!
I finally got my VISA!!!
Permis de sidere

I love you all, and Merry Christmas! I sure miss celebrating it with you all!

Love, Alex

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