Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

It's been an interesting week this one.. that's for sure. The work is going as slowly as normal, we've met a couple cool people but after one lesson they kinda drop off the face of the earth. The branch is still running alright- it was kinda stressful yesterday because I'm trying to get things organized. It's absolutely wonderful but that means that all the group presidents were asking impossible or time consuming requests (retrieving unkept records and that kinda thing.) None of them really know how to use the computer or type or anything but they get really frustrated as I try to find my way through MLS.  Anyways- that'll be most of this week! Just organizing things and working on the many projects I was just given... 

A couple days ago I sprained my ankle pretty bad. I was actually pretty sure I had torn some kind of ligament around the ankle bone because it was starting to look so gross. Sora Hill was gonna have me go to Buc if it wasn't showing improvement by today, but it's starting to look ok so I think I'm just going to stay off it for the next couple days and see what happens. I learned a new way of lacing my shoes which gave a lot more ankle support and I'd been doing that for my runs the last couple weeks but I'd been getting horrible shin splints. I finally put it together that the lack of front to back ankle mobility was causing the problem, so Saturday morning I laced them up normal. We were a little late meeting the sisters so we were running to the meeting place so we could start jogging on time. I was jogging on the ledge of the stairs, slipped on some sand, and landed on the stair below with my ankle sideways. I took a couple more strides hoping to shake if off but my ankle would not support me at all and I stumbled. We went back to the apartment and I hobbled around doing the usual morning routine but about an hour later it had doubled in size and turned a gross purple and I couldn't put any weight at all on it. Getting to church was a mess, but I wrapped it up really tight and got there eventually but aside from that I stayed on the couch with my foot elevated, icing it. I woke up this morning and almost all the swelling is gone, there's like an egg size lump in my foot but that's about it. I wrapped it up really tight and threw on some huge boots that were left in my apartment and it's acting like a brace. I'm getting around just fine even if it's a little slow ;) So yes- I'm absolutely fine, but that's been my last three days.. 
Elder W was definitely the guy to get stuck with. He's been really patient and taking care of me like a mother figure.

Aside from that. We got to help out a member and her mom this week for a couple hours. The other Elders had gone over there to paint one of their rooms, then we were invited over for lunch and then asked to stay for a couple hours. They served us one of the best meals I've had in Romania, vegetarian even. We had a turkish soup called yahni, egg mushroom patty things, and fresh salad with homemade vinegar. 
The other elders had painted the ceiling and dripped paint all over the room. Luckily it was a really cheap chalky paint which was scrubable even once dry, but it took us a good three hours to scrub the one floor. They handed us a couple brushes and old t-shirts turned into rags and we scrubbed the skin from our hands. 
I feel like I'm a pretty fit guy- I'm feeling better now than I ever have in my whole life (aside from the whole ankle thing) and the worst part of the project was stepping out of body for a second and seeing a panting teenage boy scrubbing the floor with an 86 year old woman not breaking a sweat. Talk about an awakening.. haha...

One day this week, I think it was Thursday..? We were contacting for English along the faleza. I handed a couple cards to a group walking the opposite direction and a man on the side jumps from his bench and starts shouting, "Don't take cards from these boys! They're devils and trying to trick you into talking about Christ!" The girl pulled her hand back and I was like "we're advertising for free English classes." They all took them and the guy was getting red in the face at this point. He kept yelling as we continued past, I turned around an confronted him. He quieted down a lot and I was like "what's your problem bro? I don't think you know who we are." He was like "do you even know which Christ you're testifying of?" and I replied "The same Christ you in Romania know and love is the one we love and serve." And at that he just kinda spit and started raving again. At this point and he was trying to rally up the groups walking by, it was really weird. And that alone isn't abnormal, If a door isn't slammed in my face then I get this kind of response instead ;) But what happened as I walked away was weird. I complimented a kid on his t-shirt (they wear a lot of american flags here) And his whole group of twenty stopped as they heard the guy yelling and they turned to us like- what exactly aren't we supposed to take from you guys..? So we gave them the cards and in response to the guy yelling "go home to America" they were saying we were welcome here and that the guy was crazy, just trying to help us laugh it off. Then they're like, what does elder mean exactly- I've seen a lot of those name tags around here lately. So I tried explaining it really fast but I was really flustered and we pretty much left it at "we'll talk later!" and we walked away to end the disturbance. It was kind of embarrassing because the moment my adrenaline kicks in I can't speak English let alone Romanian!  :)

Oh, and another positive story this week was what we did on Wednesday. We were all kinda depressed we couldn't go into Buc for transfers so we did our own "transfer day." Basically we ate lunch at a nice chinese restaurant and then went contacting in the really nice park we went to on Monday. Did I tell you about that..? Definitely the classiest park I've been to in my life, but you'll be able to see it all from the pics I sent. We went juggling contacting there! I've been wanting to do it for a while but I decided that Wednesday was the day.. I juggled and drew a crowd while the sisters contacted the families. We got a couple videos but they're all fails. I'll send them just to give you a good feel for the environment. 

That's pretty much my week right there! Oh, we got a new elder here fresh from the MTC. He's pretty cool and he already speaks Romanian really well because his father's Mexican and he knows Spanish.
Love you guys!

Elder Collison

Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Update on Elder Collison! :)

Andrew is currently serving in Galati (pronounced Galats.)

May 19th:

A quick recap of my week:

I went down to transfers to get my new companion and it was great as ever. I got to see a ton of friends I hadn't seen in ages and we all went out to eat at caru' cu bere. I was supposed to stay in Bucuresti for an extra night. There was a training meeting I was supposed to go to as the "acting leader" of the branch for this last week. But by Wednesday afternoon I was already exhausted and stressing out about the branch conference I still had to plan and the list of members I had to call, so I got permission from President H to go back to Galati with my district. 
I finally called President D on Friday for some last minute information and that's where I found out that he had actually planned everything out and there was nothing left for me to do but choose hymns. Hooray!  Haha, lot of stressing for nothing.
Yesterday Brother S was set apart as Branch President and I was sustained as his first counselor and the branch clerk.

May 26th:

My week's been a blur because I've been traveling and doing random stuff. 
We had zone training meeting on Tuesday, so we left Monday afternoon after spending the day cleaning the church and took the four hour train to Lasi. We stayed with the zone leaders who are two really cool people in one group behind me, had some good food and then had one of the sickest- most laid back meetings I've ever been to. I finally know everyone well enough in the mission that I felt like I was just surrounded by friends and we learned a lot from everyone's presentations. I got to smash an old watch as part of a presentation. I forget what the analogy was, but I volunteered as soon as I saw them pulling out the two objects and it was a lot of fun... 

We got back to Galati Tuesday night and we took our p-day on Wednesday. We had planned a picnic and we went and bought all the supplies from Billa while the others finished emailing. It was starting to drizzle at this point, but by the time we left the church for our little hike it was pouring rain. We made it about 20 minutes out and then we decided to set up our picnic under an over pass which basically looked like a homeless mans lair with all the trash littered about the floor. There was beautiful artwork on all the pillars as you can imagine, and we sat on the intense slope supporting the overpass, if you can picture that.. But we made the most of it and had a ton of fun just messing around.
June 2:

We had a lesson yesterday! We met a super cool kid just a couple years older than me. Hands down one of the coolest guys I've ever talked with out here. It was half English lesson, half Gospel, so we bounced back in forth between languages the whole time. It was a little more relaxed than my companion felt comfortable with, but it was so good just making a new friend and explaining what I believe in the same way I would tell a bud back home. He was studying diesel mechanics and his hobbies included hiking and gardening, so naturally we hit it off. I was telling him all about my family and after I finished explaining he was just like-bro, you're so lucky. If I had known he'd grown up without parents kinda raised by his older brothers I wouldn't have gone into such detail. I felt really really bad, but he said he was more compassionate to others by it and he was a stronger person.

I think I've explained most of the members in this area, if you've heard about the new branch president and his family and the mission president, then you've basically heard about the branch. 
There's also Sora B, one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met. I haven't seen her all that often because she's been traveling to Turkey frequently for cancer treatments. I don't know if I mentioned this but I got to go over to her house last week and it was a really cool experience. I've anointed the heads of a lot of members here, but no one has ever asked me to give a blessing up until last week. It was interesting in Romanian, because I definitely had thoughts and impressions that I wasn't able to put into words like I would in English. I did the best I could and I'm just hoping those blessings aren't held back because the middle man was lacking in language. I went there on a Thursday, but she asked for the sacrament again because she would be traveling on Sunday again, and treating every day like her last, she wanted to make sure everything was aligned for her to get to heaven without a hitch. I really admire her for her faith and I'm hoping to visit her again this next week once she gets back to spend just a little more time with her.

They're all really understanding of my callings. They actually really like me, and because I'm the oldest in the mission here I'm kinda the go to guy and it's helping my language skills a lot. 
 We'll see how this goes. As far as my branch clerk calling goes, I'm becoming a pro with the finances and responding to the confused emails from Germany asking why I did things a certain way and replying "I have no idea what I'm doing!"