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Archive for September, 2010

Dear Family,

This week has been so busy!  Sora Ausen talked to Rodica (our lady that was
going to be baptized and didn’t) all Monday during family home
evening.  She said that she knew it was the biggest mistake of her life and
that she cried for three days.  We told her that we still love her and that
we’ll still meet with her and support her and that she knew what she needed
to do.  We were so glad that she had that experience–not because we were
happy that she was miserable, but that her sorrowing was to repentance,
like Alma said.  She has grown tremendously since Saturday–it’s amazing to
see how even what we think are huge setbacks are in reality steps forward
in God’s plan.  We haven’t re-scheduled a date with her, but I think she
will definitely be baptized next transfer.

Speaking of next transfer, this week is transfer week!  We found out today
how everything is going down.  My companion, Sora Ausen, is staying here in
Sibiu and will be serving with Sora Owen (who I served with my second
transfer).  I will be going…back to Pitest (where I was trained) and will
be serving with Sora Fraser.  She is in her first transfer now and was
trained by Sora Owen.  She’s from England and has the awesomest accent
ever.  So basically Sora Owen and I are trading places.  I’m super excited,
even though it will be sad to leave the promised land and go back and serve
in the real world, haha.

So, you can’t figure out the secret boxes, eh?  That’s how it should
be!  You shouldn’t be messing with them yet anyway, they’re for
Christmas.  And the rattling sound actually isn’t the key–it’s a little
something extra I put inside each of them.  I’ll send you instructions on
how to open them in December. 🙂

Is this peach canning week, or what?  Jill said in her email that she
canned 77 pints of peaches in 3 days.  Pretty crazy.  I love that you were
the answer to someone else’s prayers.  Isn’t that just the coolest feeling
ever?

This last week we also went down to Buc for zone conference.  It was a
really awesome zone conference this time, because we took 2 days instead of
one.  So our week went like this:

Monday was p-day, and we just kinda wandered around Sibiu looking at little
shops and stuff.  There were some guys dressed up in traditional garb
playing old songs on old-fasioned instruments, so we watched them for a
while.

Tuesday was our only full work day this week, so we worked hard and got
several lessons.

Wednesday we finished packing and got on a maxi-taxi at about 10:00 am and
traveled down to Buc.  The only bathroom on the way was a squat toilet at
the Pitest autogara.  I included a picture, isn’t it pretty?  We got to Buc
a little earlier than planned, so we rode the metro (subway) to some mall
and did some contacting while Elder Jensen bought a coat that he’s been
wanting since he served in Buc.  Then we checked into our hotel and went to
bed.

Thursday we had to be at the mission office at 7:30 am, so we got up early,
ate the continental breakfast (and it was so good, even though they didn’t
have waffles.  I miss waffles.), and caught the metro again to the
office.  All the missionaries from the western half of Romania were
there–there were between 50 and 60 of us, including President and Sister
Lundberg, the assistants, and the senior couple.  We all got on a travel
bus and drove to Sinia (which is actually only about an hour or two from
Sibiu, but whatever) where we got to go through Castle Peles!  We had a
ball.  Then we went to a restaurant and ate.  A lot of restaurants (and
members) feed you in courses, which is interesting.  We had soup, then meat
and vegetables and fries, then dessert, which was kind of like a round
scone with sour cream and jam on it.  It was really good.  Then we had time
to wander around and look at all the little shops and a monastery that was
there.  I bought a bracelet with icoanei [pictures of saints] on it for a
leu [abt. 30 cents].  Then we all piled back into the travel bus and headed
back to Buc.  We got there earlier than the assistants planned that we
would, so they just told us all to “go out and do contacting”.  So several
of us all went to the Gara [train station] and sang hymns in
Romanian.  There were about 3-5 of us singing at a time, and then a couple
more walking around talking to people.  If one of us singing saw someone
that we wanted to talk to, we would leave the group and talk to them, and
then just join in again when we were done.  I really liked it–it was lots
of fun, and I think people are more open when they hear the songs and feel
the spirit that they bring.

Friday was zone conference for real.  We went over a lot of the stuff that
we learned in the sister’s training meeting, but is was awesome to get a
recap and to refresh the info again in our minds.  I love zone
conference–they’re such a pick-me-up.  We were supposed to go back to
Sibiu on a maxi-taxi at 4:30, but zone conference didn’t end on time so we
missed it.  So instead we got on a train at 6:00 and headed toward
Sibiu.  We had sleeper train tickets, but there were ten of us all riding
together (us four, plus four from Cluj, plus the senior couple), so we
didn’t get a lot of sleep.  Actually, I think everybody slept at least a
little bit except Elder Harvey and me.  At 1:30 am all of us going to Sibiu
(six of us, because the ZLs needed to give a baptismal interview to the
elder’s investigator) had to disembark and chill at a random itty-bitty
train station in the middle of nowhere.  For three hours.  We were all
super fried.  Then we got back on a train and traveled for another couple
of hours to Sibiu.

We got in at about 6:00 Saturday morning.  We took a taxi to our apartment,
dropped our baggage off, and showered to start the day.  We also baked
banana bread and made no-bakes for the elder’s baptism that day.  Then we
headed to the church for a cleaning activity that started at 9:00.  We
cleaned the side of a road near a river for a while, then headed back to
the church to change and to prep for English.  We started teaching English
at 12:00 and invited everyone there to the baptism.  Then the baptism was
at 2:00, and it went really well.  At about 3:30 we finally had time to fix
lunch and eat, after which we cleaned up the church.  We had to stay at the
church while the bazin [portable font] drained (and we were all exhausted
after being up for more than 24 hours), so we all crashed on the couch in
the basement.  Then we packed up the bazin, drug ourselves home, and went
to bed again.

So, all in all, we had a crazy week.

I love you all, and I love hearing from you!

Bri

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Jacob’s Weekly Letter 9/20/10

Man your fish fry sounds like a party, sorry I missed all the cotton candy.
28 people baptized, that blows my mind… Ryan Arave seemed like a pretty
good guy to me.
This week was a little bit slow for Elder Richins and I, but Sunday made up
for it. We got to church, and more less actives, and investigators were
there then I have ever had on my mission. The less actives were Mcintosh’s,
Tod Smith, Malaya Guftason, and a guy named Smitty, and the investigators
were Smitty’s Fee-onss-ay (girl friend that he is going to get married
to) and Tod’s wife.
Mcintosh’s we have been visiting for ever, but we did some service for him
the other day, and he said he couldn’t thank us enough, we cleaned off his
roof, and fixed a sprinkler pipe, and he was blown away, he invited us over
for surf fish, and pork chops, and then they were at church the next day.
Malaya has been less active for a while as well. She has been married for
five years, but her husband has been in prison for four of those for
“accidental” breaking her 2yr old son’s femur. We talked to her for around
two hours, and heard her whole life story, and she came to church as well.
Smitty and his girl friend are both handicapped, but they have hearts of
gold. Smitty hasn’t missed a week of church yet, except when he had a
stroke. and his girl friend Jeniffer has Autism, but she is an amazing
singer, almost as good as mom.
Tod and Monica live in a super white trash part of town, but they are
actually really good parents. They don’t let there kids watch any TV and
only some movies, mostly Disney, and they put them to bed with classical
music every night.
Well we got to church on Sunday and all these people showed up, and we have
been trying to get a Gospel principals teacher, but not enough new, or less
active people come to Church to justify it. Well they all came this week,
so Richins and I found an empty room, and taught the lesson. It went great,
it was a little hard to keep people on topic, because some of them wanted
to talk about Muslims, and the Koran and stuff, but no, we kept them on
task.
Well Tod’s wife, and Smitty’s girl friend both want to get baptized, but we
haven’t set a date with either yet, so that is exciting, but our priority
is still Chris and Veronica and there family, I hope I am here long enough
to see these people get baptized, our transferes is the start of the week
after this one, but I think I will stay one more.
I think bri is just about to hit her half way mark isn’t she…?
Blows my mind that Had, and Isaz are just about to get home, Dad, you
should talk Issaz into writing me a letter when he gets home.
Mom, I hope you think of what the Mirror is for, but until then you could
just stand out on the front lawn and blind people driving by, with it.
Love you guys

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Dear Mama Llama and Fam,

I love you all!

This week has been really busy.  Wednesday we met with a really great lady
we’ve been working with for a while–Rodica–and had the branch president
as our member present.  The lesson went great, and President Carpenean’s
testimony was perfect.  We ended up setting a baptismal date for Saturday!

Thursday we met with Rodica again and went over the logistics of a baptism
and the details of how she would stand, etc.  We also asked her who she
wanted to participate in the program. She asked Sora Ausen to give a talk
and us both to sing.  So we started practicing the “When Jesus Christ was
baptized” song in Romanian.

Friday was full of botez treaba.  We went to the library to print programs
(they like the members to do it instead of the missionaries, but the only
one in Sibiu with the technological know-how who would actually do it in
time is Pres. Carpenean, and he’s already super busy.  So we just did it
ourselves).  They turned out really well.  The library doesn’t have
printing capabilities, so I saved it to my thumb drive and took it to a
xerox place.  They didn’t have Word, and their document-writing program
wouldn’t read my word document.  The next place didn’t have any USB ports
that worked.  The next place didn’t have any black ink in their
printer.  Four xerox places and an hour later, we finally got them printed
off.  Who knew that it would be such a hassle to just print a simple
baptismal program in color? (I’ll attach the file so you can look at
it).  Friday evening was Rodica’s botez interview, so we met with her and
the elders at the church for that.  Then Friday evening after we got home
for the night we baked brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and banana
bread.  Well, kinda.  Sora Ausen baked while I cleaned–we had clean checks
Saturday morning right after the baptism.  Our appartment is normally
pretty clean, but I made it spotless. 🙂

Saturday morning we went to the church at 9:30 and started filling the
bazin for the baptism at 2:00.  And then we got a phone call from
Rodica.  She had spent the night at her brother’s house (he has cancer) and
he had spent all morning telling her that she was committing the worst sin
possible by changing religions and that she was going to regret it and that
if she was baptized she was going to hell.  Also, she called her daughters
(who are in Italy) to tell them about her baptizm, and they told her much
the same and said, “We’re all sinfull already, why would you want to be
baptized in a pocait religion (it literally means “repented religion”, but
to romanians it’s generally a bad thing and means non-orthodox religion)
and become even more sinfull?”  She said that she had changed her mind, and
didn’t think she wanted to be baptized.  We talked to her on the phone for
a little while, but ended up asking her where she was and telling her that
we would come meet here.  We got off the phone with her and immediately
called Pres. Carpenean and asked him to come help us.  We all walked to the
piata where she was going to be and talked with her there for a while.   We
told her that it was of course her choice, but if she waited to be baptized
Satan would have even more time to work on her and her family, but if she
was baptized that day she would have the Holy Ghost on her side and her
daughters would see the change in her life and in time would no longer be
against her and the church.  We ended up taking a taxi back to the church
to give Rodica a blessing.  When we got there we talked some more.  We all
knelt in a circle and prayed in turn for her–it was so spiritual and
amazing.  But she ended up refusing the blessing and stayed with her
decision not to get baptized.  We took her back to the piata and dropped
her off.  We walked a couple streets over and sat on a park bench, and I
held Sora Ausen while she cried for a while.  We eventually got back to the
church.  The elders thought it was a good idea to continue to fill the
bazine just in case, but at 2:00 Rodica did not miraculously change her
mind.  So we pulled the plug and started the draining process.

I kinda got a peek into how devastating it would be to be left at the
alter.  Pretty miserable, let me tell you.

The office elders came though that day with supplies, so we had lunch with
them.  The Lamerouxs (pretty sure I didn’t spell that name right) came and
said that they’re not actually doing the cleaning check anymore, they just
gave us a sheet of paper to fill out and told us to do it ourselves.  So
all of my cleaning until midnight friday night was for naught.  We all ate
dessert all day, cleaned the church, and basically had a mental-health
day.  We definitely weren’t up for contacting, but we did visit a recent
convert in the evening, so the day wasn’t a complete bust.  Gah,
depressing.

Church was nice.  I translated for the senior couple (the
Lamerouxs).  Translating for missionaries speaking in Romanian is much
easier than translating for Romanians speaking in romanian, let me tell
you.  Then we taught primary to Casia, on whom I am practicing developing
patience and christlike love.  Relief society was nice.  We had a lesson on
the atonement, and I could feel the spirit.  I translated for Sora L.
there, too.

So basically it’s been a busy week that landed with a splat like a
dropped watermelon.

Your week sounds fun.  I can’t believe Kayla didn’t place!  Someone must
have bribed the judges.  🙂  Mom–you have so many sewing angels buzzing
around your head I’m surprised you don’t have to swat them out of the way
in order to see where you’re going!  I love the story of the wall mirror, I
hope you remember what on earth you wanted to use it for!

I love you all, and I hope that my week doesn’t sound too depressing.  I’ve
picked myself up and am moving forward.

Bri

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Dear Mama and fam,

Oh, I’m so sad that you were sick!  I was feeling under the weather a
couple of weeks ago, and it was miserable.

The sisters’ meeting was a blast!  We spent all morning learning and the
evenings out proselyting and applying what we had learned.  I got to go on
splits with Sora Humphries, who was one of my companions in the MTC (the
one from St. George).  It was a blast–we definitely need to serve
together.  We stayed in a hotel Monday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday
night and spent Thursday night on the train.  We tried to get tickets for a
sleeper car, but they were sold out so we spent the night sitting up.  We
were both exhausted by the time we got home (at 5:00 am).  We’re allowed to
make up sleep lost for legitimate reasons like traveling, so we went
straight to bed and slept in until 10:00.  It was glorious.  We would have
slept in later, but we had a meeting that started at noon and ti takes a
half an hour to get anywhere from our house–we’re kind of on the edge of
town.

I don’t have a lot of time to write today, so I’m going to end here.  I’ll
comment on things from this email next week (maybe.  If I remember) because
heaven knows I have comments!

I love you all!

Bri

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Jacob’s Weekly Letter 9/13/10

Wow, sounds like you guys have been quite busy.
I am glad that you guys are doing so good stocking up food. There are some
families out here that don’t take a year supply seriously, and there are
some that do every thing in there power to get as much storage as possible.
The lady that I was telling you about a little while ago, Sister Handy,
that has an awesome testimony, and I take pages of notes every time she
speaks in sacrament meeting, well she takes the year supply seriously. They
just moved from Hawaii to here, and all the ward members tell me that when
they got here they had a train car full of food storage that came on a
semi, that every one helped to unload. A train car! Can you imagine how
expensive that would be to ship from Hawaii. Very impressive.
Brings back some good memories thinking back to the scone booth, and how,
at the end of the day of working there, I had no desire whatsoever of
eating one of the scones
The work here is going pretty stellar, we just did the same training thing
that bri was talking about, and there are going to be some changes, but I
think they will all be for the better. One of the changes they are putting
into place, is we are asked to commit someone to baptism on the first
lesson that we teach. That means the first time they let us into there
house to teach, we are to extend the commitment. This is a pretty big
change, and I was not against it, but I did have a lot of questions about
it. The Zone leaders did a great job of answering our questions, and the
spirit was strong when they asked us to start these new changes. So peace
being spoken to our hearts, we decided to try it out.
We sat down with a guy named marc, and got to know him, and then asked him
if he wanted to be baptized, and he said that he did. So that was a huge
testimony builder for this week.
The second one, our “golden family” the dad said that he is no longer ready
for baptism. We have been away from them for two and a half weeks now,
because of sickness in there family, and the time, and some of his
“friends” have gotten to him a little bit, and now he has some questions
and concerns. Well I was devastated that he was no longer “on fire” and
ready to go, but in the same breath, trials make us stronger. So I asked to
use there restroom, went back, shut the door, Knelt down, and asked for
Heavenly Father’s help. Immediately I felt a warm blanket of peace from
this and knew that we would be able to help him over come his questions. So
for the next hour, we just talked about Gospel stuff, focusing on, if there
is a need for authority, and the great apostasy. And the three of us came
to the conclusion that either we are the true church, or the Catholic
church is true, which we followed up with all the changes that the Catholic
church has gone through, and let him come to the conclusion for himself. We
are great friends with him, and we have had more training on asking good
questions, so it was a smooth discussion, no arguments. We thanked our
Heavenly Father for the help after the lesson, and committed Chris to read
the book of Mormon, at least once a day, and not just read it, but study
it.
Pretty cool week, Love you guys,

Elder Hansen

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Sundays are always pretty busy.  If we are picking up investigators we
are out of the house by 8:00 am because it takes a while to get
anywhere by bus and they’re never ready to go when we get there, so we
plan on some chill time at their house.  Then church starts at 10:00
and goes until 1:00.  A lot of the time we’re teaching something,
either an investigator class, or primary, or even Relief Society.  We
usually try to have a lesson after church with someone, and then we go
home to eat.  If it’s been a busy week we then have some stay-at-home
time while we do Weekly Planning, but we’re supposed to do that Friday
mornings after studies if we can.  Then it’s either more lessons or
contacting until 9:00 at night.  I miss after-church naps!  But it’s
fun, and it’s worth it.
I love you all, and thanks for writing me!
Bri
P.S. I love the story of your spider escapades!

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Jacob’s Weekly Letter 9/6/10

Acts 22:14-16 I love that scripture because it really tells you what the
function of baptism is, Wash away our sins” lots of people we talk to say
that it is, well, something that is not that.
Your trip sounds like a party, I wish I was there to dance it up again. Woo
baby. I am sorry that you guys are sick, that is always a bummer.
Today for P-day we played foot ball and my comp is a ninja. Quick like a
butterfly Stings like a bee.  I don’t really know what else to tell you,
our week, was one of the slowest that I have had so far, but I guess it
sometimes takes some of those to help us realize that it is not up to us,
but it is up to our father in heaven to give us people to teach. Richins
and I re-committed ourselves to working super hard.
Well sorry I don’t have more to say, Love ya

Elder Hansen

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