Monday, January 6, 2014


Hey Mom and Dad! 

Last week was kind of a game changer for me, a lot of moments where I had to slow down and think about what I'm doing here and what I could be doing better. Must be all this new years resolution stuff. 
The biggest thing was probably the office fire. I don't want to make it sound like it was a big deal cause it really wasn't, but it brings back the memories of President Coakley's "no coincidences." There were a lot of variables that put the odds on our side and it's easy to say "dang we got lucky!" but I know that's not the case. It's scary to think about what could've happened. There were no smoke alarms going off, we didn't smell or see anything, nobody new we were up there. If we hadn't heard the guard yelling for help into his phone through the window, we probably would've stuck around a lot longer and it might've been harder to get out when we finally realized what was happening. I'm grateful we're being watched over and we all made it out without a scratch. 
It was pretty funny though, the news stories made some pretty dramatic twists to reality. 
"There was an office building incinerated on Pipera Friday, there were three survivors."
"After the inferno, three were saved in the last minute."
and stuff like that.. we got a pretty big laugh out of it. 

haha, K. I don't want to go on too long about this, but I'll give you a clip of my journal entry just in case you want some details. 

At about 10:30 the assistants left and we were just wrapping up the plans so we could get to sleep. I had my earbuds in, but Elder B heard some shouting so he looked out the window to see flames billowing out of the third story.  We hadn’t really noticed the smoke because it’s always so foggy over Bucuresti, it usually looks the same on the seventh story at night. Elder B jumps around and yells “there’s a fire on the side of the building!” I rip my ear buds out and say “there’s a flag??” My first thought was seriously that there was some kind of riot or something. At this point we all kinda look at each other for a moment, then we jump up and grab our bags and jackets and run for the door.  We really had no idea what to do. I ran for the stairs, Elder P ran for the elevator and Elder B ran for the emergency evacuation guide. I got a video of us running out of the office in case we died on the way down, then we took the stairs deciding that it was probably our safest bet. As soon as we got out onto the stairs we could smell it and feel it, but as we started descending the smoke got thick FAST. We couldn’t see or breathe by the time we reached the third floor, but we continued sprinting towards the exit. We made it out safely with nothing more than a cough. When we ran out of the building the guard hustled over to us to make sure we were ok. He was still on the phone with 112, and it was his frantic voice explaining the situation that we had heard through our window seven stories up. We were the only ones in the building when it happened so we just had to testify that we were the last ones out and no one was missing and we were good to go. But we stuck around for an hour and watched it burn. We’re all thoroughly impressed with the sector one fire brigade, they got there plenty fast and they had hoses all over that thing for and an hour before the fire finally started to calm down. At the climax of the action we counted 11 fire truck and probably just as many police cars. We had left our phone upstairs so we ran to the sisters apartment so we could use theirs to start telling people we were ok. They didn’t answer so we ran to the assistants house and woke them up. We called President Hill and got everything all figured out, then we ran back to the fire. Someone there caught wind that we had been in the building and all the sudden we had 6 cameras in our faces and bunch of microphones everywhere as we recounted our story. They took a quick little blip of that for their news story, and my face is totally cut out cause I didn’t say anything, but I can say I made the news! We went back home and got a couple hours of sleep. It was hard cause we were so wound up, and we woke up pretty early the next day to get to the office. To our surprise they let us in, and I’m actually typing this out on my own computer right now. The fire totally damaged the third floor and it looks like they’re just starting to check things out down there, I’m hoping that they checked to see if this building is still structurally sound, but being cement I’m pretty sure we’re safe. 

Today (I'm writing out a little draft on Sunday cause I'll be kicked out of the office early tomorrow for the professional cleaning crew to come in and try to get the smoke smell out.) We had our church service at Aviatiei, and I guess I should fill you in on what's happening next transfer; I'm staying in the office with Elder P and Elder B. My entire district is actually staying the same which I'm happy about cause they're all pretty sick. I'm not assigned to Aviatiei anymore and in fact, I don't really have a branch..? Aviatiei has become a missionary and senior couple group with a faithful Romanian group leader that comes every week, it kinda died.. So the office Elders were told they could go to any branch in Bucuresti they wanted to, so we're just going to bounce around depending on the mood. 
ANyways. Today after church I went to Sora Gorzo's house for lunch. She's the sweetest old lady, and she actually reminds me a lot of Grandma Brant. After that I basically spent the rest of the day contacting with Elder R (one of my good friends out here, an AP that I've been working with for the last couple transfers) We were both just sick of sitting in the office doing busy work and we knew we needed to get out and do something. So we put our office load on our companions and went out with the sisters to talk to people. We were trying to do some survey contacting, which actually turned out to be pretty effective. I was feeling weird about it at first because to me it almost sounded like a way to lie your way into a gospel conversation, but I tried it out and realized that if you do it with the right intentions and the questions you ask are truly to learn about personal beliefs and the general culture of Romania, then it's a worthy practice and I actually got some really cool conversations out of it. We talked to one crazy paint huffer who was saying some really mean stuff but we got a good laugh out of it. For some reason she really wanted to talk to me, and whenever Rodenburg would add something she would whip around and do a gollum "shut up!" in English. She would ask where I'm from and I'd say the states, and she'd answer with "lies! You speak romanian!" She asked why I was here in Romania and I was like "To talk with and help people, ya know?" and shes's like "lies! You're here to steal!" This might be mean, but it gets to the point when you can just laugh at those people and shake it off without a problem when they cuss you out, cause their brains are all cooked out and there's not a whole lot left to worry about. If there's one thing I'll learn here it's that the word of wisdom might be a good idea ;)

Love you so much! Thank you for emailing me.

Elder Collison

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