Monday, May 27, 2013

Week Ten!!

Hello My family!

Minunat week! Today marks the end of my first month in the country. My first transfer is already drawing to a close! I had some pretty great adventures this last week. Down past Centru towards Mamaia (I'm not sure about the spelling..) there's a building called the Cazino. You should google it and check it out. Anyways, it's this really old run down building on a peer overlooking the black sea. It's closed off to the public, but every once in a while they'll open it up in the summer and charge tourists hundreds of dollars to come in, and even more if you want to take pictures. weeell. Elder Cobabe and I were going to teach a man who said he worked down by the Cazino, and we were told to meet him there. What we didn't know was that he happens to be head of security of the actual building. We got there and started looking around, and he opened the door and beckoned us in. We taught a lesson in one of the back rooms of the Cazino! After that he totally gave us a free tour, took tons of pictures with and of us. So, I don't even know how to describe the building because I don't know exactly what it was used for. Just like all the building here, it's made completely of concrete. but in the concrete there are really ornate carvings, and the whole building just looks like a huge castle; with huge stair cases and theaters and bars. It's super run down and it's full of pigeons, but it was way awesome. 
Adventure number two. Apparently Romania is big on flash floods! We were at a member's house, helping him prepare some thoughts and a scripture for a contacting activity we were doing with the branch, and it started pouring. 20 minutes later, we were trying to make it home in ankle deep water, trying to avoid all the streets that were knee deep! it was way intense. I don't think they see this all that often- there were cars stalled up and down the streets, a lot of accidents, it was pretty cool. That also happened to be the day president and sister Hill came down for interviews, so we went home and demudded, got dry and changed and went up to the Vila where they hold church. I absolutely love the Hills! Even if my entire mission goes by "unsuccessfully" I'll be able to go home knowing that I served this mission just so that I could have them as my mission president and wife.
On a sad note: My family inspired me to do my own sugar fast, which I started last week and deeply regret now. Just 35 days left now! haha. I'm not really concerned about the health aspect of it, but I really wanted to see if I could do it after you guys told me all about it. A matter of spirit over body I guess. We'll see how long that lasts! I've fallen in love with Romanian and Turkish sweets and pastries, so I want to cry almost every time I walk by the bakeries.
It's been a way awesome week though! 

Elder Collison

Sunrise over the Black Sea :) 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week Nine! (Two Months!!)

Hello my beautiful family! It sounds like you only got two of my pictures last time, and I tried to send like 6. That alone took like, 1/2 an hour to upload and then it was super glitchy. Maybe I could just try sending one picture a week or something? I also just bought a flash drive so I could start backing up all my pictures, so you'll for sure see them all as soon as I'm home!
So, my week.. it was amazing! We were in our apartment eating lunch (The attic of the church) the sisters were downstairs with an investigator teaching a lesson, and then they called us saying there was a man asking for us.
Let me just tell you about this guy. His name is Valentin, and he and his family live an hour and a half from the nearest church building (which happens to be Constanța). He's had a really rough life. I couldn't really make sense of most the conversation, but I know he's got cancer right now and that's why he was up in our area, for treatment. He's a man really concerned about religion, and 8 years ago he got his hands on a book of mormon, or maybe it was even just a book of translated excerpts..? and that's how long he's known the church is true. A couple months ago he had a couple minutes to blow before a doctor's appointment, and he had this prompting to walk through the park. That's where he met the mormon missionaries who were able to give him the address for the church before he had to dash for his appointment. 
So we met with this man, and he had a couple hours to blow before his bus left so we gave him the first couple lessons. I can't say I was all that much help, but I was able to recite the first vision and bear my testimony to him. He has a baptismal date for July 6th.
I really don't know what's going to happen yet. Because he lives so far away and has so little money, he might have to wait until the church opens in Mongalia. He's just a super happy, positive, jovial guy- and sincerely wants to grow closer to Christ. I'll definitely keep you all updated on how this plays out!
So, an update on my life! we finally got a new apartment! after 8 years worth of missionaries living in the church, we closed that apartment down so the members could use it, and we spent Friday moving into a nice apartment right on the black sea. (to be honest it looks a whole lot like lake michigan, plus all the ships and ports.) I don't think there's a better apartment out there for elders- we're on the black sea with an incredibly beautiful view, but right after a small garden and path there's a small cliff face and then the beach is all rocks. So were on the sea with no nudity! this morning we ran for the first time in our new area, and we did roughly eight kilometers on the sand. Maybe like, 4 miles..? anyways, I found out that's not an easy thing. every step forward is a half step back and I'm kinda dead right now. It was a lot of fun though! running up on the big grassy hills with the sand trails reminded me of trying to sneak an "H" back in gobles, minus dodging all the sleeping hobos.

I really like the new place. It's a lot smaller than the last apartment, but it's not like we're home all that often. there are a couple things that bother me a bit- like the stove that won't even fit a 13x9 pan, or the washing machine that looks like it got cut in half. (all the washing machines are super weird here. they're all tiny, super noisy, and it takes like- four hours for a load) oh. and there's no toilet seat, so I'm going to come home with very muscular thighs. Nothing else new really. I'm loving the work and I'm having a lot of fun with it, as hard as it is to communicate when their English is as bad as my Romanian. I think I'm entertaining a lot of people though whenever I try to speak. There aren't a whole lot of people trying to learn Romanian, so it's not like back home where everyone's super accepting towards the million people attempting to learn English. 
Most of my time has been spent contacting, either in the city park near the mall or in city center. basically all I do is try to stop people with "buna ziua, nu va supra"- then my companion saves me and I'll jump in whenever I can.
That's about it for this week, not a whole lot has happened since Wednesday.
Love you all!
Elder Collison

Aubrey Boyer! I don't really have any stories for ya other than what I just wrote in my mass email and what I put in you letter, which should be there soon..? hopefully! hmmm.. So, I'm going to come back totally euro-ed up. I already bought myself a man purse, and I AM SO MAD I bought all my clothes in the US! seriously, I spent so much money on everything cause I'm going to romania and I didn't think I would see clothes other than sack cloths for the next two years. and just in the city I'm serving in they have two of the biggest malls I've ever seen in my life, with the nicest clothes, and they're so much cheaper than what I bought . everything's cheaper here. and all my clothes are way out of style. even my fitted pants and shirts are way too baggy to fit in. haha, I'll have lost so much weight by the time I get back (guys generally lose a ton). anyways. That's so cool you're learning about communism and stuff! I wish you could be here to see this. what everyone lives in, they're call the blocks. there cement color less buildings that smell like cat pee. they're all identical for the most part. (all though some are cylindrical and they vary in sizes) but they're bigger than any housing complex in america, and the cities are just built to cram as many people as possible in here. I actually live in the first floor of a block, where a previous owner purchased the land around it and added on, so it's really nice. I've been in blocks where it seriously feels like azkaban. and there are usually only single light bulbs every other floor or so, so most of the stair wells are coated in grime and almost pitch black. haha, I don't know why I'm rambling about this- but it's really cool. I also saw the place where cecescu (I know I didn't spell that right) made his last speech, standing on the ledge of a building. they killed him and that's when communism ended.
Have a good week, I'm praying for you.
Love you so much aubrey, talk to you soon! 
good luck with this week, keep smiling and making people's days!
Elder Collison

Here's my picture of the week! this is in the outskirts of București some of the smaller Block buildings, just to give you an idea of what it looks like. annnd, you can see some of the craziness of Romanian driving here. I won't go into deep details til I'm home and safe, but imagine 6 lane highways with no lines and a million drivers with death wishes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week Eight Continues :)

I finally have time to write you back! Sorry it's been so crazy! I was actually kind of surprised today when we got to the library and the internet actually worked. So! I'm trying to think of everything you don't know yet, I guess I'll just tell you about the last couple days. Yesterday was forte tare. The last couple weeks have been spent 'english contacting', looking for students and that's about it. Other than that we haven't found anyone interested in our message. We had our first english class last night, and over 30 people came! We had some nice 'get to know you' activities and taught everyone how to introduce themselves in English. Out of those students, we have 10 people so far who are interested in hearing more about our church. So who knows what this will lead to, but it's really cool to finally see rising results. 

Yesterday also happened to exchange day with the Zone leaders, so I spent the day proselyting with an Elder Slemboski. He's a way cool guy, and you can have a lot of fun out here when the only people who'll talk to you are the mega-crazies, and we go a lot of those yesterday. We met up with the other Constanța missionaries at a place called Genessis and we ate some burgers that tasted way too legit even by American standard. The Elder I was with didn't have an abonament for the buses, so after we ate (waaay on the other side of town) I had to find my way back to my apartment in the middle of a rain storm. It only took us an hour and a half and I only got lost 7 times! haha, good times though- It was a nice adventure. Ooh, what adventures haven't I told you about yet.. The members here are amazing. Seriously, If I can be half as strong as some of them by the end of my mission- I'll be a happy guy. Sora Mihaiela (not sure if that's the way she spells it or not) Came to the church and made breakfast for the sisters and us this morning. On Monday we were invited for breakfast with the branch president and his family. I hadn't expected to eat well at all here in Romania, but they saw to it that I stuffed myself with pancakes coated in nutella with vanilla ice cream. is that cruel to say while you're still on a chocolate fast?? haha, but it was soo good. 

I actually really like the food here. It's so simple but usually tastes really good. I've already got recipes so that you all can have the romanian-experience. I'm able to communicate very little. It's finally starting to make a little sense, like when someone is talking to my companion, I can usually pick out enough words to figure our what's going on. But as soon as they turn to me it all turns to gibberish. My ability to reply doesn't really exist yet. I know a lot of vocab, but the sentence structure is really odd, and there are so many things in Romanian grammar that just don't exist in English. anyways, I'm having fun with it and I'm trying my best!
I'm going to send this now so that I can start uploading pictures, but I'll try and think of more adventures as I reply to other people.

Love you so much! 

Elder COllison and his trainer Elder CObabe!

(We have no idea what this is a picture of :))

Monday, May 13, 2013


Yo YO! So, another monday has passed without access to internet (It was down again in the city of constanţa) we just got permission to email our families just to tell them we're still alive. We have exchanges with the zone leaders tomorrow, but by wednesday we'll definitely be able to get on and email! hopefully.. sorry it's come to this again, it's so crazy here. 

Gotta go! please tell everyone I'll reply soon as possible! 

Love you loads! I'm still so happy from our conversation on saturday

Vă iubesc!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Week 7 AGAIN!

Family! I promised id be able to email you today, but we now have a service project thats going to take up our afternoon, so i guess that was a lie. ill talk to you on Saturday though! I have access to a computer now just long enough to say Im still alive and cannot wait to talk to you in two days! we definitely get to video! if you just email me your username once you make an account I should be able to call you guys. Dont get your hopes to high on quality, ive never had a good skype chat, but at least i get to see your pretty faces! sorry, im typing on a romanian keyboard and punctuation is a bit different.. 

gotta go, love you all so much

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 7!

My family! So here's the plan. Everything's closed right now because everyone's celebrating the orthodox easter. I've got a couple minutes using the Powell's computer but my companion and I are going to jump on later in the week once we can make it to an internet cafe. Sorry! things have been crazy here. I'll reply to all your questions and give you loads of details probably on thursday..? we've gotta head back up to bucharest to for a zone conference and to get my visa stuff all figured out and we should be back in constanta by wednesday night or thursday morning.
I love you all so much! I cannot wait to tell you about it! It's definitely been a trying experience, but I can't complain. I've got a lot of good people around me and the Lord's with me so I'm a happy guy ;)
Email you soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Elder Collison Arrived Safe!

Dear Brother and Sister Collison,

President Hill and I were thrilled to meet Elder Collison as he arrived in the Bucuresti airport with his MTC group. He seemed very happy to finally be in the mission field after his weeks in the MTC. President Hill and I had an enjoyable interview where we learned more about this great young man. It is evident that he comes from a very loving, supportive family with a lot of close ties. Thank you very much for sending him to us. We were impressed by his determination to be a great missionary, and by the tenderness with which he spoke of his family.

After our interviews at the office, he began his visa work by going to a simple medical examination. This is a big holiday week in Romania, so the rest of his visa work will have to wait. Because the visa offices were not open, we were able to visit Cismigiu Park, where Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicated the land of Romania for teaching the gospel. I'm attaching a picture of us there.

Then, we had all the incoming missionaries to dinner at the mission home, along with two of our departing missionaries, who bore their testimonies to them and gave them a little advice. Then we sent them off to spend the night with temporary missionary companions.  The next day, they returned to the mission home, where they worked hard to stay awake through our orientation meeting and met their first companions. Elder Collison is now with his initial companion, Elder Cobabe, in Constanta, one of our favorite cities by the Black Sea on the east side of Romania. Elder Cobabe will give him an excellent start, and he will be with a group of very good missionaries. 

Thanks again for sending us such a wonderful young missionary. We could instantly tell he will be a very good, faithful, hard-working missionary. 

With much appreciation,
Sister Hill
Romania/Moldova Mission