Currently typing my email with a haze of vaping smoke (I think blueberry flavor) over me as the smecer [guy] to the right of me is getting his hourly dose of whatever kind of addicting drug vaping contains... ahhh the life of typing emails in an internet cafe!
|Arad in the snow|
It has been fa-reezing in Arad! Just like Yakima apparently! It snowed one day and now there is alot of ice and snow! Yesterday we were doing some villa knocking during the evening time and by the end of the time, I couldn't actually walk right because my toes were so frozen! This was actually kind of a cool feeling because that evening was like the classic example of what I have always imagined missionary service to be like in Europe. I also thought about our ancestors who crossed the frozen plains of America. Because of their sacrifice, I am in Romania, preaching the gospel and bringing others to the knowledge of Heavenly Father's wonderful plan for us. Truly, we are all apart of Daniel of Olds' prophecy that the Lord's Kingdom will fill the whole earth, as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands...US!
|Selfie with the Dacia... the most common car in Romania!|
|Elder Ditto in a very European-esque field|
|Old man thinks he can keep up with young drivers.|
A couple funny moments... We were bloc knocking one day and a man came to the door... with no pants on! I threw-up in my mouth a little. I also "puped" three times ... No not that kind of pooped! A common greeting between the older generation of Romanians is to "Pup" one another... just kisses on the cheeks... one on each side of course! Well, during the Christmas activity, the ladies of the branch expected me and Elder Giron to pup them! I am basically an expert puper now, I can even do the fake lip smack! Hahaha ohhhh I love Romanian culture!
|Beginning English class I help teach each week as part of our weekly community service we provide.|
Ever since I came into this world I have loved Christmas. I just love the feeling of Christmas, the smell of Christmas, the sights of Christmas, etc. Arad has all of those, especially in the center of town. A ginormous Christmas tree, the smell of cinnamon cortos kalacs filling the air, Romanian families taking selfies and us missionaries sharing the Light the World video. On top of all of these wonderful things, the real reason why I love Christmas is because of the time that we have to really focus on Christ. Yes, I have always strived to focus Christmas on the Savior by serving others, reading Luke 2, etc... but this year as a missionary was a little different.
The thing I love about being a missionary is that I basically don't have any worries except for finding people to teach the message of the gospel. This lack of "extra worries" allows me to try and focus all my thoughts on the Savior and how I can follow His example. I have really tried to do this a little extra during this Christmas time. I have nothing but time to serve right now! This is truly a great blessing as I get to strive to do my best and walk in His footsteps. Walking in His footsteps can mean many things, but I have tried to focus on not being judgmental towards others and "departing of my substances" and giving to others.
|Banana Bread for everyone!|
|Cartea de vizita|
Elder Giron and I had many wonderful "light the world" experiences as Christ did. Some noteworthy things to mention include baking banana bread and attaching a "Light the World" pass along card to the baggy. We gave the bread to people who we have had good conversations with and to people who looked hungry.
|Arad Branch Christmas Activity- Sarmale!|
We also helped plan and prepare for our branch Christmas activity. We made 300 sarmale's!!! Crazy. Sarmale is sooo good and the Christmas staple food here. It is fun to make, as you put the meat and rice mixture into a pickled cabbage leaf, wrap it up, and cook it in water for a while! I will make it for you guys when I get back :) We had such a fun time with the members- all are so wonderful. I really enjoyed this time as it felt like I was back in Summitview Ward prepping for our party! The missionaries and Sora Mogos sang a bunch of carols during the party- even one in Hungarian!
We also visited a sweet little old man that I found out didn't have a working heating system in his little home. I remembered that we had an extra little space heater that we have never used. The next day, we delivered it to him and visited with Him for a little. He was so thankful, and we were so humbled.
|Christmas Tree at Primaria|
Elder Giron and I also prepared some bags that had clothes that we found in our apartment that weren't being used. We spent one evening walking around centru in search of homeless people and beggars to give these bags to. Normally, we avoid beggars, but today was the opposite. There was one that we have seen before and doesn't have shoes on. We gave him a pair of dress shoes that fit him perfectly and also the bag with clothes. It felt so good to help somebody that has so little, and to not judge them by their looks or their actions.
|Free tea at our favorite bookstore... tea is very common here. Don't worry- it is just fruit infused!|
These experiences of service is what has brought me a feeling of lasting joy that I have never quite felt, in a time where I was sure I would be homesick. Why does serving others make you feel so good? Well, the answer is in Mosiah
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Yup- when we serve others we feel the confirming love and approval of the One who never forgot the poor, the needy, the sick. We feel the love of God!!! This scripture has truly come to life this past week. I know that when we choose to shine our light with those around us, we won't only bless the lives of others, but our lives will be blessed in return!
I love the Savior and am so thankful for His perfect example.
Let's all go out and find ways to Light the World this week! I cannot wait to facetime you guys !!!
|Surprise lunch with Sora Mogos and the Sisters|
|Ciorba de perisoara... YUMMM|
All my love,
|Snow on Arad buildings|
|Beautiful primaria during Christmas time|