Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Guys,

First snow!

So we went to Oradea for a day to practice for the Christmas Choir that is going to happen on Dec. 6th. The Choir practice itself lasted 3 hours! The conductor told me that I will be singing a two line solo in a song! What!? Apparently I can sing? I didn't know, haha. Someone said that I would be a good Romanian caroler, hahaha, I dont know what that means, but I'll take it! 

The next day, we are in Cluj now, we played tennis with Doru again and I remembered to take some pictures as well. On Sunday, Doru also came to church again! 

Doru, me, & Elder Gunsay
Clay tennis court in a tent
Then that night, my companion and I made a dish called gnocchi. Its basically potato pasta and, it's Italian. 

We have been also working with a recent convert lately named Dominic. We meet with him almost everyday for short amounts of time. We have began to see a big increase in his testimony, as well as his character. The gospel really does "heal" people.  

I think one of the coolest things that happened was that I found out that the lady, Rebbeca, that my companion and I were teaching in Brasov, is getting baptised this Saturday! The coolest part is that I get to go back down to Brasov, for a day, to see it! I'm excited to see her get baptised and to see everyone back there in Brasov!
Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving and we, the missionaries, are making a big feast! It will be great! Hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and I am certainly thankful for all of you and all the Lord has given me!

Love you all,
Elder Houk

The drawing of the Jesus that I got from the guy whose home we were at for 3 hours awhile back.
Monthly Goals
Homemade Indo board
Look, you can see the roses in the back! It was also made in Romania!
New jacket, with model look :)
Shoes that I got a while ago and never took pictures to show you guys, until now!!
A stadium
This is Tudor. He speaks Romanian better than I do! haha He's the funniest kid.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Week in the Life

Hey Guys,
Elder Houk with new companion Elder Gunsay
I thought I would give you a little day-by-day action here from Cluj, here's how my week went:

Monday: I got a haircut and a new jacket from Pull & Bear! (no picture yet, but coming soon. I need to start taking more pictures.)

Tuesday: We had choir practice in the morning. That's right I will be singing in a Christmas Concert on Dec. 6th. We had our first English class of the Transfer and it went really well. Love the people and they love us! We made some D-lisious Enchiladas for dinner!
Wednesday: Made an Indo Board from scratch! Went to our local "Dedeman" (equivalent to Home depot) and picked up the necessary stuff and boom! Indo Board. We are planning to go contacting with it on the street. That night, went to the Irish Pub and then got our things together and headed to the Gara(station) for an 11 hour overnight train ride to Buchuresti (pronounced "Boo-coo-re-sh-t"). Got a little sick...again. Those dang train rides.

Elder, Elder Gunsay, Elder Bateman, Elder Houk
Thursday: Got into Buchuresti and had to change at the church. We had a mission conference and we were visited by Elder Kearon from the seventy. He is SUCH a cool guy and it was one of the best conferences I have attended! That night we caught a train back to Cluj (pronounced "Clooj") for another 11 hour train. This time with 4 other people in our cabin and my companion. Just think of two tri-bunk beds put into a tiny room and that is what it is.

Friday: Finally got comfortable and then we arrived in Cluj. haha Found a place to print out a big piece of paper (A0 size) and then it was about 2/3 of the way done and then it messed up and we had to go the next day to pick it up. We are printing off a big English advertising poster to contact with in the future.

Saturday: Picked up our big English poster and went to teach English. Had more people there this time and we shared a spiritual thought about prayer. They seemed to really like it. We went out to lunch with an English student named "Doru." We went to this place called La Piadina in Old Cluj. Mmmm best "whatever that stuff is" in town and then even grabbed an "American Donut" after. Later that day we played tennis with him in a big balloon thingy with clay tennis courts in it. Then went home and changed and went to another restaurant for drinks with him. I grabbed some of the best hot chocolate I think I've had and they both got Lemonade. We talked about the Restoration and how the Book of Mormon came to be. He had been reading the Book before, so he knew about it. He said that he would love to continue to learn from us and keep an open heart. We invited him to come to church the next day.

Sunday: Doru came to church! He said that he liked it, as well! We also practiced that morning for Choir and later we had a member lesson with a recent convert named Dominic. He was just baptized a couple months ago.

Monday: Sitting here writing this letter to you!

I'm pretty excited for the future here and I hope you guys are enjoying yourselves back home, as well! Have a great week!

-Elder Houk

Two weeks ago when I posted these pictures Blair hadn't given comments. This week he explained... 

He's driving us on a gypsy cart. Meet some gypsies!
On a gypsy cart!!  yup. 
A theater that is in Cluj.
The light means that a production will be playing that night
On the overnight train, someone gave this book to me to read on the way home.
It's a book about the Orthodox religion and the title means "The words of the Old People"
or (as google translate says) "Elders words"
This is from the Irish Pub. A restaraunt here in Cluj. They got the O'Bama and O'Sama hahaha.
A halfway decent looking omelete that I made on P-Day morn. Tasted pretty good too!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hump Day!

Hey Guys,

You made it to Hump Day!
Well, this is weird! I'm sitting here right now and I have exactly 1 year left until I leave. I don't really feel like, "ohhh man a yeeearrrr really", but surprisingly the exact opposite. I feel like "whoa, I only have a year left, that went by a little faster than I expected." It's actually pretty weird thinking that I might be a normal person someday and not a missionary. Right now I'm pretty excited for this next year. I'm technically a "seasoned" missionary now, but I still feel like I have SO MUCH to learn and that I just got here. 

Being on a mission is really like a 2 year life. Your born into this weird country, you can't even speak to anyone. There is all these different things going on and you're just getting all this information thrown at you at once. But you just keep trying and living and everything starts to come and really, truly, just like life, your mission is what you make it. You can have a ton of fun or you can just...not. When you put in the effort to be productive and think of fun things to do, it brings happiness. I would have never imagined that I could be as happy out here as I am. I really think it's because my outlook on things changed and I noticed that when you are doing the right things, it really does bring happiness.

Here's a funny story from the week. Every morning we wake up at 6:30 and say a companion prayer out loud. I guess I should start by saying that we have been pretty tired this week. So we wake up and my companion starts saying the prayer. I was listening and then all of a sudden there is no more talking. I sit there thinking, oh dangit, I fell asleep, so I look up but he is still over there kneeling. I'm just thinking, wait, what is going on, he was just saying the prayer and then all of a sudden he finishes. I look over and then we realized that he just fell asleep while he was praying...out loud. It was pretty funny.

We have been going slack line contacting for English this week. It has been really fun and seems like it has been successful. We will find out this Tuesday when we start. Also we played tennis with someone this week. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it. We asked him if he would like to talk about it with us and why it's important and he agreed! He is a super cool guy and we are excited to see what happens in the future.

We found a pretty good burger place here. This week I realized that the only type of burger I have had out here has been from McD's. So to eat at a good burger place was a pretty solid find.
And speaking of food, my companion and I had a Mexican night, yesterday. I made guacamole, while he made home made tortillas, salsa, and some good beans. (He's a good cook) I have to say that it was one of my favorite meals I have had out here. Probably because they don't have any Mexican stuff out here, that I've found. I do miss those giant breakfast burritos!

Well, that was my week. Love you guys and hope you have a great week!
Elder Houk

Yea I dont know what it is, but its AWESOME! haha
On a bridge in Cluj
There is a Disney movie that is called this haha.
Mihai Vitiazul (Michael the Brave)
BAG OF MILK!!!!!!!!
On Strada Vienna
Moon...yes mom same moon haha <3

Monday, November 3, 2014

B-e-a-u-tiful Cluj!

Hey Guys,

On a gypsy cart!!  yup.
So I'm here! I arrived in Cluj last Friday morning. I was a little sick during the process of the overnight train, unfortunately,  but I got some rest and now I'm all good! We also lost our hot water and heater for a night when we came in but it was all fixed and now it's all working. It was a pretty "fun" experience in those first couple days, but I got all settled in and let me tell you, I love it here! Cluj is b-e-a-utiful and we live in a house! haha it's so home-y. The branch here is bigger than Brasov by a few and the 
members here are funny and fun to be around. They don't yet have a chapel, but I think it's got to be coming soon. I can already tell it's going to be a fun transfer here for sure!

We visited a castle called Electric Castle today. It was a old thing for sure. We went inside only to be told after that we can't because it's too dangerous because it's falling apart. Apparently they have rock concerts here in the summer around the castle and that is the reason it is called Electric Castle.

When I left Brasov I received a handmade tie from one of the members! It is a blue tie that I am wearing in the pictures with Rebecca and Raziel. It's soooo awesome!

That sums up my week! Love you guys!
Elder Houk

Rebecca has a baptismal date for Nov. 22 in Brasov

(homemade tie) This is Raziel.

He's driving us on a gypsy cart. Meet some gypsies!

Electric Castle!

a view from electric castle, looking at other castles. haha