Hello and were did my week go. This week has flown by and I can't believe it is Monday. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing to you guys. First no dad there is no dry ice here but they do have club soda which you just add to the mixture of root beer that you make for the box. Second probably the biggest thing I miss from America is all the different types of food and meat there. I love the food here but it is all they have and the variety that back home offers just sounds so nice. Oh beef jerky is something else they don't have here. Anyway all the variety and accessibility in America is what I miss the most. Anyway I may as well get started with the week.
After writing you guys we went bowling with Gena a 21 year old member whose only friends her age in the church in Pleven is us missionaries. Bowling was great and I still suck at it. We played three games and I didn't bowl above 45 all three of them. I guess I just don't have any bowling blood in me. Anyway after bowling we watched a little of "The Incredibles" and then went upstairs to get ready for the nights work. We tried to contact a girl from Chicago. When we got there we found a note on her door saying she was called in to observe a surgery (she is a medical student.) Elder Corless was shocked to find a note and for a second didn't know what to do. You see no one in Bulgaria will do that and very few of them will notify you if they can't make it to an appointment. After I told Elder Corless that this was normal in America he realized that it was and we wrote a note back. We then went tracting and found and really cool guy but he doesn't want us to come back.
Well Tuesday morning Elder Corless had to go with Elder Brinkerhoff to the doctor because Elder Brinkerhoff has some stomach problems. Everything is fine with him and please don't worry his mom is already worried enough and to tell the truth it is a little embarrassing to get an email about people being worried when everything is completely okay. Anyway Elder Rowden and I then made cookies because March 8th is Woman's day in Bulgaria (Like our mothers day though for all persons of the female variety.) We were finishing up the cookies when Elder Corless and Brinkerhoff returned with everything the news that everything is fine. So Elder Corless and I went to deliver some cookies and found out that one of the inactive 16 year old gypsy members was in Spain living with her fiance before getting married as part of gypsy tradition. We wanted to scream "Hello you're members Law of Chasity much!" Anyway it was fun to deliver the cookies and at least we know were she went so that she doesn't disappear like some members do. After delivering the cookies it was time for lunch and language study. Something that I found that helps me a lot is actually translating I don't know why but it helps a ton. After Language study we had a meeting with Angelina the 16 year old investigator that is getting baptized on the 26th. There was actually something really cool that happened during this meeting. In our last meeting we had told her about the word of wisdom and like most Bulgarians she drinks coffee, smokes a little, and drinks a little alcohol. She was fine with it though and said that she would follow it. In this meeting she told us that she had followed it for a day and had felt great but that she wanted to know for sure that this was correct. So she prayed to Heavenly Father and said "Okay I am going to smoke a cigarette today if this is bad punish me." So did what she said she would and smoked a cigarette that morning. The she went out to her mail box to get her money for school that day because that is were her dad puts it for her. She put her key into the lock and while unlocking it her key breaks off in the lock. So now she not only has to go to school without money but her family has to replace the mail box. She said that that was a big punishment and that she now knows. I find it amazing because one it teaches us that Heavenly Father answers prayers and two don't pray for punishment because you will get it. Anyway that was really cool and I thought you guys would like to hear that. After meeting with her we went upstairs to grab some CD's so we could make some copies of Elder Corless' classical music for a member. When we got up there though we found out we were locked out because I had loaned my key's to the other elders because they needed to use our apartment and they had locked the top lock and Elder Corless' keys don't have the key needed to unlock it only my set do. So we called them and they came up about a half an hour later because every one that they had dropped off cookies too had given them and meal and basically trapped them there for an hour. Well by now it was cleaning so we had to be in the church and then afterwards we were able to make the CD copies. That was Tuesday. Oh yea we got all the cookies delivered except for two people we were meeting on Wednesday. Yea we accomplished a whole Relief Society activity in a single day, we are amazing!
First off we had district meeting. After district meeting we met with a member to help her with some English. She had served a mission in California so she can speak perfectly but she doesn't know any of the grammar. So we helped her for a while and then had a meeting with Mima. The meeting went well but she doesn't think she will be ready to be baptized until July. We know she is ready and we just need to finish teaching her so I will update you later. After Mima we had language study and then went to try and meet Mary again but she wasn't home so we just went tracting. That's a wrap.
Again I was with Elder Rowden because Elder Brinkerhoff had go to the doctor again and Elder Corless goes with him because he knows the most Bulgarian. So Elder Rowden and I just studied and then met the other elders at the bus station. Well Elder Corless and I missed our bus to Slavianovo and had to wait for the next one so the other elders just went to work. Once we caught the next bus out to Slavianovo we met with Nickolie and Iveta to members that live out there. Nickolie is finally active as long as he has the money for the bus ride down and Iveta is still inactive. They made us a delicious bean soup and then we talked and I beat Iveta at a game of speed chess. We then left because we had to prepare and teach English. English was fun, Elder Rowden went over when to us indefinite and definite articles (A, An, and The.)
After mine and Elder Rowden's class we did some tasks for the other elders and then it was time for bed.
After our morning studies we planned for the week. We then met with this kid I had met the night before that wanted to meet and basically he just played piano and we found out he has some problems. After meeting with him we had lunch and language study then we met with Angelina and had a huge meeting with her. We went over the entire "Strength For Youth," the third lesson, and keeping the sabbath day holy. It was kind of funny because in the strength for youth they have all these pictures from the 80's and no one is wearing shorts. So she thought that shorts were not aloud. We cleared that up and then she came to the movie section and asked (after reading the part of what movies can't have) what movies can we watch that aren't kids movies. Luckily my Bulgarian movie collection was down stairs and we were able to show her 10 right there that were alright and not kid films. Anyway the meeting was great and before she left she that we learned a ton today and yes we had. After the meeting with her we got some English posters ready to be put up and then went contacting.
First thing we had was English and in it we basically got talking about food (reason why I miss it so much now.) After English we did some tasks and then went street boarding. It was super successful because for once it is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the glav was packed. After street boarding we went tracting and then went in for the night.
Sunday was fun and I actually understood somethings said in church today. Angelina, Mima, Vera (other elders English student, can't teach only 14 unless we have parent permission. She is really sick though comes to church and is in Second Nephi and has only started reading this month,) and Teodor and English student that I thought would only come for special reasons (okay he left his note book on Saturday.) He actually enjoyed church a lot and really participated in Sunday school. After church we tried to meet with him but he doesn't want to meet, but does want to come back to church. After church we had lunch, called some people, and then went street boarding. While street boarding I actually got a received off a couple all on my own. I was so happy and it made my day all the better. When it got to dark to street board we tried to contact Mary again but she wasn't home so we just had dinner and went to bed
Monday pak (again, in Bulgarian) (Today):
Today we have cleaned, shopped, I read Uchtdorfs talk on pride in the priesthood, and now I am writing to you guys. We plan on getting haircuts finishing up getting the English posters up and then watching movies until Elder Corless and I need to go into Sofia for his passport work tomorrow. Thank you all so much for your letters and I will write you again next week. And yes I did hear about Japan all the Bulgarians have been talking about it for the last couple of days.
Austin James Ewell