Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cool and Interesting Experiences

Elder Bateman, Elder Oldham, & Elder Houk at Mission Leadership Council
This week we had a Zone Conference in Bucharest so I didn't get to write till today (Wednesday). This past week we had some cool and some interesting experiences. To start off, just for your info, I was sick this week with a fever I think and some stomach stuff, but I'm feeling better now.

    Early last week, we called a member to ask if we could come over and visit her. She said yes, and then a little later called us back and asked if we could give Hector a health blessing. Of course we said yes and later on we went over there to visit her. When we knocked on the door she answered and looked at us and said "nu face bine" meaning he's not doing well. So we came in and asked where her grandson was because I knew that her grandson was usually over at her house. She gave me a weird look and said "who? Mihai?" Then she continued to say Mihai doesn't need the blessing but Hector. At that point she pointed her dog. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt by asking a "higher authority" if it could be done, even though I already knew the answer. I called the AP's [Assistant to the President] and he told me that he was going to write this in his journal :) Then I called President and he simply said, "No, but you can have a special prayer for him." I said the prayer and we comforted her for a while and read from the scriptures. Her dog is her support since her husband had died and it was a really big deal for her. We sympathized with her and explained the plan, that Jesus knows exactly hows she's feeling, and that he is there to carry her though this. Later that week we made some brownies and surprised her at her door. She seemed happy to receive our dulcuri and the dog seemed to be doing better. I saw her today at FHE [Family Home Evening]. She seems to be perfectly happy again. So that was cool to see.

    We also picked up a baptismal date this week from one of our investigators. He picked the 14th of August because that was the age when Joseph Smith had the first vision. We hope to work with him throughout these next few weeks pretty closely. He apparently has known about the church for 11 years and I think he said that he has been taking lessons for 2-3 years. His name is Cornel. He's also a security guard.

    A while ago, my comp and I sat in the front seat of a Maxi Taxi (its like a shuttle, for the city) and we talked to the driver about English classes, and he knew English and seemed pretty interested about us being Americans and volunteers and speaking English and stuff. We gave him a card and told him to call us if he had any q's and to come to the course. After that didn't think much of it but thought it was a cool, but normal experience. Fast forward a week and something to last week and we are walking to visit a member on the road. This guy sees us and pulls off the road and yells at us to come over. He explains that he lost the card, but wants another one. So, of course, we give him one, and a little later he starts texting us. We talk and eventually established to meet up yesterday.
We ate at this place today...really expensive, cool view though
He was working, but he wanted us to come along for a ride and for us to be a "surprise" for his girlfriend. (We weren't exactly sure what that entailed, but we went for the offer none-the-less). We got on the maxi taxi and went in the back and then eventually his gf got on. We went to the last stop and everyone got off. So he gets out of the van with his gf and opens up the sliding door and like, stretches forth his hand and says here you go! The gf, you know, screams of excitement, not too loud but like a girl who just received her very own pair of owl earrings from H&M. We come out of the van and shook hands and we find that she also knows English. We talk about stuff, like she's a history teacher and other normal things. We got back into the van and then continued to talk with her and her boyfriend while he worked his shuttle routes. It ended up being very normal and cool, and honestly they are really cool people that are curious, it seems, about religion. We spent most of our P-Day with them today. They drove us around to lunch and then came back to get beaten in Ping Pong at the church. We'll see what happens in da future. 

So things are going good. Its really weird that my time as a missionary is coming to an end. I honestly don't want to leave, but at the same time I wouldn't want to live here forever. I am trying to enjoy and savor every moment I have with these people because it's time well spent and great memories made! Thanks guys for everything and I hope you all have a great week!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Birthday Week

Hey Guys!

mom and dad missing their boy
Thanks again for all the Birthday Wishes. You guys are Awesome! 

So some of you guys wanted to know what I did for my birthday. I had a great day! I wanted to make it a great day full of work and that's what I did. We met with an eternal investigator at the beginning of the day and then right after that met with our investigator Rainov. We had KFC for lunch while playing ping pong with him. We traveled over to a members house right after that and visited with her for a while. She claims to be our mom or grandma away from home. She fed us some sweets. We then went to the store afterwards and I bought myself a whole tub of chocolate-mint ice cream and some spoons and ate it out in the sun in front of the store. I contacted a lady and gave her a spoon that I bought and she was surprisingly thankful that I had given her the spoon. She also wanted to learn English. She might have been crazy. Then we played some basketball with some of those guys we met at the park. We also hackey-sacked with them as well. They want to come to English too. Then went home and drank some banana milk and called it a day.
This last Friday, we went down to Bucharest for MLC or Mission Leadership Council. It was a good experience. I was definitely tired afterward. It was a meeting from 10am to 5pm. Then took a train back to Galati at 630 and got home around 1030pm. 

Our investigator Rainov met with us and the Branch Pres. this week and he had a LOT of questions about things. We cleared up just about all of them and he said that he will reload and get some more for later. haha So he may not be making any covenants soon, but we are hoping that as we help him to understand that his questions can be answered through prayer, that his testimony will grow and he will be able to keep progressing. 

That's my update for this week! Love you guys and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Houk  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ahhhhh Romania

Hey Guys!

So to start off this letter, I want to thank all of you for the Birthday wishes! Thanks [mom and dad] for doing all that you have for my birthday by getting everybody to take a picture and write me. It was awesome!

I gotta say that this week was awesome and crazy. We did a lot of work and met with a lot of people. 

A funny story that I'd thought I'd share was when we were visiting an older member at her house and as we were leaving she shook my hand and said that from the first time that she'd met me I'd looked German or like that I have German features. And I said, you know, "thank you"(...didn't know really what to say). Then my comp said that a member from another city thought that he (my comp) had Russian ancestors, even though, in reality, he really doesn't. And she says to him, "You do! You do!" And then turned back to me, and looked at me for a second and then she threw up her hand and semi-yelled in her little house "Hiel Hitler!" and then turned to my comp and said "Hiel Stalin!" "Esti un Hitler!" We were shocked for a second and then we looked at each other and just bursted out laughing, harder then I have in a while! It was a joke of course, but what more can I say than "That's Romania!" haha. 

Another story this week was when we were with our investigator and we were talking about how he needs to come to church and he told us that he wants to change his job or at least his hours to be able to come to church. So we proposed to him that we wanted to do a fast with him together for the Lord to help him. And so, let me just explain something first, my comp is a little on the, let's say, big boned side. So my investigator says jokingly, "hey you're telling me that I need to fast? I mean look at E. Anderson, he's the one who needs to fast. He should be fasting everyday! I mean I'm fat but I'm old, he's young, he's gotta lose some of that!" Both me and my comp have been here for a while and we both knew that, what just happened there, isn't offensive here in Romania, so we were busting up laughing with him. *sigh* Ahhhhh Romania *smile*.

I have learned here on my mission, that loving those around you brings happiness, as well it brings blessings along with it too. I'm so happy to be a missionary here in Romania and I love these people. I'm lucky that I get to have this once in a life time experience to dedicate my young unlearned, unperfected self to the Lord. May He be with you this week! Have a great one!

Elder Houk

Monday, July 6, 2015

Basketball and Sunsets

So this week was transfers and my companion, Elder Morby, is going to be going home. I am still here in Galati and I am with an Elder who was in my district. His name is Elder Anderson and he's from Southern California as well. We are both zone leaders and I am the district leader as well. 

Things haven't changed much since last week besides the transfers. We finished up with English this week and will be starting in another two weeks. 

A cool thing that happened this week was my comp and I went to the basketball courts and went "basketball contacting." We basically just joined in a pick up game with some teenagers and played some basketball. They asked us why we were here and stuff and we told them about what we do here. They were super cool and even called us the next day wondering if we were gonna come back and play with them. 

We had a pretty cool sunset yesterday from my apartment. 

That's about it for my week, but I hope that you guys keep having great weeks!
Elder Houk