Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!!

Hey Guys,

   Happy Easter! My Easter, this year, was definitely a lot different than all of my other

Easter's. So this week, on Friday,
the Church had an Easter activity. Unfortunately, only a couple members showed up, but it was still great. They really spent a lot of time on the boiling of the eggs process. It took almost 3 hours to boil about 60 eggs. We didn't have to help on this process, but they would have a special blend of salt and oil and a slow boiling process until the eggs are just right and right before they crack. After they finished, I got to paint some of the eggs, Romanian style. First you would put on plastic gloves and then they would put a little dye in the palm of your hand and you roll the hot egg around in your hand until you cover the whole egg with dye. It was pretty hard actually, because it was a really quick drying paint and it took me a couple eggs before my eggs started to look really bolnav (sick) sau, mişto (or, cool). haha After I painted some eggs, we sang some songs and watched some bible videos. After that, we ate some traditional Romanian bread and then dueled eggs.  

    A common Easter expression in Romanian is "Hristos a inviat?" (Christ is risen?) and you answer with "Adevărat a inviat" (True, he rose) as the answer. I'm not exactly sure if it is Orthodox, but it is part of their culture for Easter. People on the streets would also just say it to you like their Easter "hello." So, before you eat the egg, you pair up with someone else and you both have an egg in your hand. One person says, "Hristos a inviat?" The other person says, "Adevărat a inviat" and then one person hits the other persons egg and whosever egg breaks, eats it and the other person wins. You then go around to everybody until you lose and eat your egg and if you're the last one standing with your egg, you win!

    Another cool thing that happened that day is that we found out that Reese's had come into the country. So after the activity we headed to the nearby Kaufland and picked up some Reese's. 

    The next day was Saturday and we went over to the senior couple's apartment for some breakfast and watched the end part of Sunday's General Conference. We then taught English and then went back to the senior couple's apartment to watch our Easter movie. We watched "The Croods." Then we waited for the night time to come for the Orthodox mass. 

    So the background of this event is (you might want to fact check this information, but this
is what I heard) that the church in
Jerusalem has a candle and the priest prays for fire and the light or fire on the candle appears as if out of nowhere. They believe that Jesus touched the candle and the fire appeared. So some priests go to this church and get the fire from it and then spread it to all the other Orthodox churches. Then on Midnight Easter, when Christ was risen, they spread the "light of Christ" out to the people. So we found a church and went in. They began singing and saying "take the light of Christ" and they would walk down the middle of the aisle and give the fire to the people's candle and then everyone would share it with everyone else. After you had your candle lit, you would start to move out of the church. They then do some singing and what I believe was like a little service. They chanted "Hristos a inviat?"  "Adevărat a inviat" a couple times and sang a song that everyone knew, and after about 10 minutes, it was over. 

So, the belief is that if you get home with your candle still lit, you have good luck. We had about a 40-50 minute walk back. So my candle went out twice and I was able to ask people on the streets if they could light it back up, because there were certain candles that you could share easily but the ones that our group had were in a plastic cup and we couldn't share them with each other because they would just go out if you tried to pull it out of the plastic cup. So by the end, mine was the only one lit and we were almost home and then of course, I look away from the flame for about 2 seconds to cross the street and my flame went out. A little later I found one person with the right kind of candle to light me back up. He tried three times but my candle wick was too short and my cup was almost destroyed. So, I never made it back with the light of Christ. 
Brasov District
 The next morning, on Easter, I woke up and our water heater went out in the night, so I thought I was cursed. haha But the rest of the day turned out to be a good day. We went to church and there were more investigators there then there were members. We had one hour of church and then had some more traditional bread and eggs. That night we had a little Easter dinner as a district of missionaries. We all made a little something. We had pizza, pasta, salad, chocolate and eggs. It was a pretty great Easter, here in Romania.
I hope you all had an awesome Easter with your Family and I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Houk

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