Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 28, 2014

Well, this week we did some fun stuff.  We started holding an activity after English class on Tuesdays.  We hosted the first one and we played this kind of series of group mini-games to get everyone to interact and to participate.  It went really well!  Some favorite mini games were: spelling words with bodies and traveling across the room without touching the floor with them help of chairs and tables.  We publicized it well beforehand, and tried to get as many people to come as possible.  The previous weeks, we had been working on trying to make contact with less actives and get them to come back to church.  We tried contacting almost everyone on the list, with no success.  Not one person met with us.  But then, on that English day, one of the less actives that we didn't talk to or try to contact just showed up.  And brought his friend.  And they both had a great time at the activity and now the less active is preparing for the priesthood and his friend is interested in the gospel.  Super sweet little story of how the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Just Romanian Things
Here's an analogy I thought up this week of Romania, hope if helps you guys understand how the people are here: Romania is like a traditional country population that speaks in Bible and got teleported into a post-apocalyptic city where the only things that survived the nuclear attack or whatever were the huge cement buildings.  And that's Romania.

Two Truths and a Lie
These are all animal related, so have fun

  • A pigeon flew into our apartment
  • A cat watched me take a shower
  • I saw a dog pick up a bottle and throw it away

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

I offered to give piano lessons to a member here who really wants to learn piano.  He's a super cool member who's 26 years old and translates for the church.  He knows like 5 or 6 languages and is working on another 2.  His parents are Hungarian but now they all live in Romania.  For some reason there's a lot of beef here between Hungarians and Romanians, which is really dumb because their feud is based on a land grab that happened a long time ago and they can't get over it.  Tibi (the member I'm teaching piano to) says that their cultures are really similar and they should just get over it and appreciate each other.  Good policy.  The reason he wants to learn piano is because he wants to write a history of jazz in Romania, and he's done a ton of research on it, but now he believes that in order to write a convincing compilation of everything about Romanian jazz, he has to learn how to play jazz.  Really cool but daunting endeavor.  After our piano lesson, we got to talking about space because I love space and also he has a monstrous bookshelf of space books.  Don't know where I was going with that tangent.  Okay well, onward.  So my companion found out that I offered to teach piano lessons to Tibi, so then he went and offered it to everyone in the beginner English class, without asking me of course.  So I got roped into doing 3 other sets of piano lessons.  I don't even teach piano!  I only offered to teach piano to Tibi because he specifically asked me.  Anyway, we'll see what happens.

Just Romanian Things
So this week in church, the speaker before the rest hymn ended really early and I wasn't expecting it, and the conductor said we would sing a sacrament hymn on accident.  So I was surprised as I made my way up to the organ to play the rest hymn.  The director was messing around with the book as I started to play the prelude to There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today.  Then, she looked over at me and reached over to put a book on the organ or something and I thought she was telling me to stop, so I did, then I realized that's not what she was doing, so I kept going.  For some reason after all this confusion, I forgot that Sunshine is played in G major, and not D major.  So I played the intro in D major before realizing my horrible error and hiccupping hardcore near the end of the intro.  And of course, the intro is the only time people actually pay attention to the organ, so that's great.  Needless to say, I biffed hard on the song.  It wasn't that I couldn't play it, I just thought it was in a different key.  The past couple weeks after I played piano, one member would come up to me and tell me I was wonderful and that I was a pianist and how great it was and all that jazz.  Well this week he comes up to me and goes you're no longer good, man.  You're varza.  Varza is the romanian word for cabbage.  I was called cabbage.  It's actually used colloquially to me lame or bad or something like that.  It's funny though, because they love cabbage here.  So shouldn't cabbage be a great thing?  I mean, in a culture where if something isn't wrapped in cabbage, it's got cabbage inside, wouldn't cabbage be a compliment?  Just Romanian things.

Sorry, I don't have chef to do two truths and a lie this time.  The lie last time was the dogs though.  Also, I forgot my card reader so pictures will have to wait till next week.  Sorry for being cabbage guys.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

so this week we did some pretty neat stuff.  We met with a really cool member and his son, who isn't a member.  He fed us some man food and we talked about engineering stuff for a while.  He was telling us about the rich history of Romanian engineering, where they would take other people's ideas and make their own versions of them.  For coming straight out of communism, that was apparently a pretty big deal.  However, all the huge German companies already established just ate up all the little Romanian startups so that's why there are no Romanian companies at all now.  He got talking about Nikola Tesla as well and how he's the smartest guy to ever live and that he has all these inventions that aren't accredited to him because he never demanded them to be, so I guess he was a pretty modest guy as well.  But this member is really cool, he's a precision engineer or something like that, so he (used to) make and design really delicate and precise instruments, like dental tools and stuff like that.  He also did some programming of some kind, but I don't remember what.  However, the economy is so bad here that he can't get a job.  Super sad.

Anyway, I set up with a different member this week to teach him piano twice a week, so that should be fun.

Culture Tip
This is a missionary culture tip.  So here in our branch there is an old lady who loves the missionaries.  A lot. So much that she's known as the grandma to the missionaries.  She always pups us every time we see her and she invites us over to eat at her house all the time.  And then makes us pay for it.  I found out though that she would probably be dead if she didn't do that.  Her retirement pay whatever that's called is super tiny and there's no way she'd have enough money to live without feeding the missionaries.  So it's a kind of strange form of service, but service nonetheless.

Two Truths and a Lie
The lie last week was the calves one.  That didn't happen sadly. Okay, so this week, which of these didn't happen?

  • I saw a guy in a cage
  • I found a hidden trove of johnny's garlic spread in our cupboard
  • A woman got on the metro with 12 lap dogs


Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

As of yesterday, I'm now the branch organist.  Yep, we have an organ.  It was actually super fun playing the organ last week!  Hopefully I can pull it off again next week.
In other news, the zone leaders from Chisinau came down and stayed with us for the two day mission leadership council and it was great to see them again.  One of them looks exactly like David (see pics) which I think is hilarious.  Another hilarious coincidence if you could call it that is that our new mission president looks exactly like my friend Bradley from college, except about 30 years older.  The resemblance is uncanny.  Speaking of our new mission president, he wants us to spend more time visiting members and less actives, so that will be totally different than our old approach.  He also wants us to spend more time doing activities with the youth and stuff like that as well, so I'm super stoked about that.  Because you know I love activities.  We brainstormed a bit with the Chisinau elders about what kinds of stuff would be good and stuff that they've done that's worked as well, and we've got a good little list going.  So if you guys have any ideas for some sweet activities that you think would get investigators, less actives, and members all in one place, let me know!

Two Truths and a Lie
The lie was the bike one.  However, someone in my district did actually do that last week...

  • Some guy I was talking to on the street admired and measured my calves
  • I had an incredibly amazing hand-tossed fire-baked pizza from a little tiny shop in the middle of town
  • We found a less active member in the park while waiting for a investigator who never showed up