Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 27

I actually am really enjoying Bucharest. There are so many beautiful parks and it's just an entirely different world all together. Since my last email I've also had the chance to contact in Parcul Tineretului and Cismigiu. Man, they're both just so beautiful. After you contact for a while and you finally break the barrier you just feel happy for no reason.  You can imagine my joy just walking around the gorgeous lake surrounded by willow trees and very European cobblestone bridges. Man. But I am having fun here. I really enjoy searching for less actives because it's really just a big investigation. You finally find the right block and then if no one's home you ask all the neighbors to start piecing the story together. So far everyone we've tried to visit has moved out of the country, but that means we can start cleaning up the huge inactive lists we have.
Last week was a pretty good one! I got to spend all of Saturday at the church and I got to hang with my bud Eugen! We had to practice for the puppet show (I guess I have to explain that.. Something they're trying here is a little puppet show. Just little skits on sanitation, dangers of alcohol and smoking- that kinda thing. The set belongs to the church, and they already have recordings of the skits, so we just have to sit behind the stage and move the mouths and hands. it's kinda cool!) So we practiced for that, then we taught English (which turned out to be really fun.) We basically just translated songs and we have a pretty cool group.) We were going to have sports night just three hours later, so we grabbed some lunch, and then weekly planned at the church. We had sports night at 4 and I got to play some American football for the first time in forever!
I'm so excited for general conference too! I have no idea how it's going to work out here. I would have to stay up all night to watch it live. Most likely I'll just watch it at a member's house or get permission to go to an internet cafe.
My shoulders are actually doing great! I haven't had a problem since I've been here in Buc. I've started working out my upper body again and it's killing me how weak I am!
I love you!
Elder Collison

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 26

I'm lacking on many awesome stories for this week. It was your run of the mill kinda week with a lot of time just spent contacting.
Hey, I started jogging again though! Meaning, I've done it once and I'm planning on keeping up the routine this week. It's been raining since, but I'm so happy at the idea of anything less than atrophy.

Haha, funny story... kinda.  SO, I've never really translated before. I'm in my fourth transfer and on average this is when you start to understand a little of what's being said around you. So I've definitely gotten to that point, I've been feeling like I'm doing pretty good language wise- but that's still just picking up words here and there and forming an idea, I don't have the full message 100% of the time. But at church yesterday I was asked to translate. Of course I said I'll give it a try so I stood up with the romanian guy I was supposed to be translating for. I stand next to the pulpit and he starts with "I want to talk about my job," which happened to be some sort of avionics technician, making sure planes take off and land correctly. So two sentences in and all the words become foreign to me, as you can imagine. So I'm standing up next to this guy, throwing out English words every once in a while "Return. Rest. Diligence." You can picture it. Better yet, president Hill also decided to come to this group meeting and was sitting right in front of me as I'm basically interrupting the meeting at this point. (Afterwards he stopped me and asked where I was when they went over avionics vocab in the MTC, so apparently he wasn't too disappointed ;D) Man, it's funny now- but standing up there with these High class embassy workers and senior couples expecting something out of you- it was kinda terrifying! But President Iacobescu (the group leader) speaks perfect English and he saved me and we kinda tag teamed the rest of the talk. 
We also almost taught a lesson Saturday. Almost. And then they didn't show up. But that was kind of exciting! The closest I've been in a while.
All the Buc missionaries are going to play some ultimate frisbee at the Mihai Bravu chapel today. I got kind of addicted to it in Constanta when I was playing it every week and I've been having some withdrawals, so I'm kinda stoked!
I'm loving Buc! You know naturally I'm a small town kinda guy. I need my cornfields and trees. But this is kinda exciting; using the underground metro everyday, always surrounded by massive buildings and waaay too many people. There are also a billion places to contact which makes it nice, I will forever be an adventuring and a lost man in this city. The people here so far have been nice and accepting even if they're not really interested, and I've met so many foreigners and members from other countries. 
Love you! 

Elder Collison

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 25

My first week here's been really good! I'd only heard less than desirable things about Buc before this, just about the people being more in a rush, harder to stop, all the inner city pressure- ya know. but I'm really loving it so far. Like, I went to the park last night and it was amazing. There are several of these parks in Buc, and this is something I could wander in for weeks and not explore it all. They had a huge outdoor theater with hundreds of people just sitting on the grass, a super nice skate park, tons of restaurants, and old rebuilt villages. Maybe we have these in America, but I've seen nothing like it before.
Buc North just had it's first meeting yesterday! The leader there is super legit. He told his conversion story and he is very solid in the Gospel. There were about 20 people there all together, and since there were about an even number of Romanian and English speakers, the whole meeting was translated. The nice part is- the missionaries didn't have to do it! Both President Doru (the district president) and the group leader President Iacobescu speak english really well, so they pretty much tag teamed the whole meeting, translating for each other. Iacobescu would say something in Romanian and Doru would translate it into English, then he would switch to English in the middle of the sentence and Doru would translate it into Romanian.  

Oh, and guess who got to conduct without any knowledge of it? Yeah, they didn't ask me to sit down this time- but I did find out that some people actually dO look at the conductor and sometimes when the conductor's off a beat everyone follows.. So Elder  Baker (the accountant) pulled me aside before I had to conduct the closing hymn and taught me how. Now I know! But it was really funny.. Picture me randomly waving my hand randomly in front of a congregation in a living room, trying to read in a language I'm not perfect with, trying to keep a Romanian choir in tune to a song I didn't know.. woohoo!!

That's my week! my time this transfer is pretty much going to be spent helping out with this, visiting the thousands of less actives and inviting them to the new group, and doing a little contacting. It'll be fun!

Love, Elder Collison

I met Eugen!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 24!

So.. I'm starting my 4th transfer in Romania! weird, right? I was just assigned to Bucharest, Panduri- serving with an Elder Ealy. I've never met the guy, but he's really old in the mission and he actually got back from the states last transfer after having his shoulder operated on (Sora Hill said we had the same problem..?) But I've heard he's a pretty cool guy. K, here's the cool part. There have been rumors going around about opening up a Buc North branch for all the Americans here working for the Embassy and for all the English speakers. I get to open it! We're kinda opening up a new area so we're starting from scratch; no area book or anything. I don't have a whole lot of details yet but I'm pretty excited for the adventure.
The reason I wasn't able to email you is because I've been stuck in the apartment since Friday. We got a phone call saying that the proprietar wanted to install a water heater. Even the plumber said it would probably just take a day. all I know is that for the last 3 days we've had guys in our house, drilling through the cement and destroying our apartment. woohoo! So I've done a lot of studies, I've been all packed for the last few days, and I did a whole lot of rocking back in my chair staring at the ceiling yesterday. Our apartment was DeStroyed by dust! it was the nastiest thing. We had no idea what they were doing the first day, so we had tons of dishes drying and lots of food put away but unsealed. we just had to throw out all the food and rewash all the dishes. We woke up the last few mornings feeling like crap cause we're breathing in so much dust, it's just gross all together! 
So that's been really fun. 
Transfer Boards came out at 11 on Friday, but we weren't able to leave our apartment so we filled our own in by phone. Just a little depressing after so much anxiety and expectation ;)
Adventure for the week! 
We went out to a little village, in search of the last address Alin gave us. Super awesome village and it felt JUst like Reading. We even stepped into the "shariffs office" for some help and it was totally something you would see on the Andy Griffeth show. Everyone was super friendly there and were really willing to help. It turned out that the guy we were searching for had moved out of the country a while ago, but it was so relaxing walking down the dusty roads for hours looking for a street no one had ever heard of before. The big city kind of deal might be growing on me just a bit but I'll never get tired of the small town feel.

Elder Collison