Monday, July 25, 2016

On a Train in the Desert of my Mind

So this was a good first week in Oradea.  Only "X" amount left. Im doing well.  Im just trying to build up some energy again so i feel like my good ol' self.  The Forest drains the Turtle sometimes... #parables But i just needa get back into the habit of finding as we go.  That was something we tried working on this week.  And we hope to do better with time this transfer.

Well, i arrived at my new apartment after a long 14 hour train ride...Super lonely..By myself..Just me and  my Uke on a train in the desert of my mind.  BUt i met Elder Hellewell my new comp in Oradea after the whole fiasco was over.

We started with a good planning session and talked about the people we are going to work with and how we are going to start off the transfer.  It was a good session and i really like Elder Hellewell.  He is a great guy!
Random things we did this week:
-We went to some Christian fundraising concert in Centru.  We met some cool italians and saw some cool people.  The Italians could barely speak english and we could barely speak italian.  So those conversations are always fun.  I wish i knew more languages!
-One of the members and his wife are pretty big metal heads, so i can talk with them about the good ol past time of hard rock, metal and screamo.  #dope
-Had 5 lessons in one day that caused us to go ALL over Oradea..Super tired by the end of the day..
-Walked up this huge hil to get ot a members house and was super hot and tired by the top, only to be greeted by a house without air conditioning X)  So that was an adventure
-Went la tara to visit a potential who has like 8 kids...Super huge for Romania.  He was a good man but really wasnt too acepting of the Restoration and stuff..That turned into a long annoying bashing session that i kinda just sat out of..But he is really cool and wants us to teach a lesson or something at his church he goes to..I dont know if that would hppen..but we will see.
On the way to Oradea
-Started making lyrics for a song on the Uke, we will see if it draws interest to people ;)

Story 1:
Elder Hellewell and I areboth working on being "Go-getters" this transfer because we both are just kinda the "just existing" type and we just do our own thing, ya know.  But we had this really good opportunity a couple times to just attack the day and get after it.  We had a day filled with pretty much just contacting and a lesson at the end...Sometimes good but many times just bad haha.  But we had a couple ideas.  The first of all being trying to get rid of some extra cokes in the fridege left form a previous companion.  You would think everyone would just want a free coke given to you by 2 Americans. It turns out, i guess there isnt anyone who would do that...So that kinda blew...But we continued and went to our lesson.  We had our lesson with this guy named Levi.  We talked about positive change (repentence) and how this particular principle has helped change our lives and we have been able to become better people cuz we allowed Jesus CHrist to change our trajectory.  We then just set the expectation that we are here to hlpe people come closer to Christ by helping them make it to baptism.  So we asked him, when he comes to know these things are true would you be baptized.  And he said yes!  So we told him the things we would need him to do to make it to that point and we stressed church attendance.  He said "I make no promise"  and we bore testimony of the importanace of  church attendance.
After this, we were pretty stoked and felt good about how everything turned out.  This would help us with our last section of the day where we had to contact for a couple hours.  We decided to go do the survey in a bloc.  So we chose a bloc and just tried being super positive and energetic.  Unfortunately like no one answered the door...Or would give us 3 seconds to explain what we were doing...One girl even just straight up told us "its not worth what you have to say.."  and i just kinda sat there holding my tongue and thnking "WHAT isnt worht you rtime!  I havnt even said who i am!"  But i was a little discouraged, yet again, the Lord blessed us at the very next door as He always seems to do after a trial of our faith.
An older lady opens the door.  We introduce our selves and she is happy and even has been to America before and we had a great convo.   We told her about the Survey and asked if we could come inside.  Her house was pretty dirty and unorganized and we decided to go to the balcony instead.  We were fine with that and we were abel to do the survey and get to know her soem more.  She was really nice and open.  We gave her a Plan of Slavation pamphlet and tried to see if we could share a message with her but she said she was too busy.   We tried all we could and that is what matters most.  And atleast she has a good opinion of the church i hope.  She was the ONE that we needed to find and to touch.
Story 2:
We had 5 lessons in one day and they spanned all over Oradea and gone. We were a little discouraged cuz we wouldnt haev much time to devote to contacting. During one of the lessons we met up with a memebr who lives outside of Oradea names Fratele Isopescu.  He is a rock solid member and is super cool.  I will explain more about some of the details of that visit below.

Zone Leaders are Thugz
But, he was super cool and we had a good visit.  We were alittle sad because Frat Isopescu was so prepared by the Lord and we were asking ourselves "where are all those prepared people?! Elder Hellewell was bringing up this one experience he had where in the area we were walking in was a man they met that was somewhat interested and had a son in Utah.  We were talking about how cool it would be to proselyte in this area nad find that guy again or others. And on the way back to the bus stop, we passed a gentleman who we said hi to.  He said he wanted to talk to us.  Elder Hellewell Recognized him as the man whose son is currently in Utah and was the man we were literally just speaking about..He said he knows a thing or two about us and we said we would have to visit him sometime and he said sure.  We didnt get his number though but he lives in the area so we will definantly have to see him again!  The hand of the Lord is in our lives so much!  It a great time to be a missionary!
We were also blessed to meet a good amount of cool people ont he way back.  We saw many people who we were able to leave a good impression of who were were.

This pretty much explains our companionship
Spiritual Thought:
I will now refer back to our lesson with Frat Isopescu.  He was a huge miracle.  The missionaries were knocking on his door in about 2005 and his wife answers the door.  He goes to see the hubbub and sees these american guys.  And from that moment he knew that they were good people.  They came inside and taught them the Restoration and left them the Joseph Smith pamphlet and the spirit "did prick (his) heart with the word" Jarom 1:12 and he was hooked!  He read the JS pamplet and had the same question Joseph Smith had and prayed and knew without reading the Book of Mormon that it was true.  An excellent story!  But what he said that struck me more was that he said when he saw the missionaries that he knew that they were "good people and men of God". He cautioned us to know that everyone is watching us.  We stand out.  We draw peoples interest and they dont always know why. This caused me to self evaluate and ask myslef the question, "Are my actions and words and thoughts helping me to be seen as a representative of Jesus Christ?"  And that questioned helped me check myself many times and is continueing to help strenghten my testimony of my calling. My actions could influnece those around me and even cause miracles in this wonderful nation!
Elder Hellewell is sexy ;)
Selfies ftw

Concerts are dope
Lots of older Euro architecture here


Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to the West

the English Class
Hello humans!  This week was pretty busy but at the same time pretty chill.  Kinda weird..We finished the transfer strong and guess what! !?  IM getting transfered to the west.  Oradea.  Really weird..One and outed as we call it here..But im trying ot stay positive and not be as butthurt for no reason.  This transfer should be great though!  Im looking forward to continuing growing and seeing how this transfer turns out in the new branch.

We had some english classes and i said goodbye (at this time i wasnt sure if i was leaving but we said goodbye just in case).  Took some pics and stuff.  We watched Wreck it Ralph as well for english class.  That was chill.  It was a funny movie.
We did some new contacting ideas where we stood outside of the church and invited p-eople to learn more and take a tour.  We also had a table of materials outside.  Kinda too JW-y but it was a good idea that i will try again i think.  Gotta be creative ya know.
When we did the church tour thing, i stood on the other side of the street so i could get people who tried avoiding us haha X)  And i had my uke so i played songs on the street corner and probably looked crazy.  But it is pretty fun asking people if they know what a Uke is..Cuz they dont know what iut is X)  So we play some songs and it  is a fun non threatening contacting experience.  I stayed for a chat with this older lady waiting for a bus.  She was cool but not really interested but that didnt stop us from talking and getting to know eachother.  Grannies be chill.

contatcting..soo hot!
Later that day, we were walking around Ploiesti and a random girl walked away from her group of friends to come talk to us.  She approached us and asked for help and we said sure what would you need.  And she asked where to buy tampons. Well, being Elder Nango, i never like missing an opportunity to out awkward someone..SO i asked her where she was from and why she wouldnt knw where to buy them?  She Said she was from Brasov and that she really needed some.  Then her friend walks up too and i ask him where he is from and he says ploiesti so i tel her to have him take her to the tampon store or something. She said no he was form Brasov too and the joke just got stupid after that X)  So we just told her to go to the local supermarket after some awkward back and forth conversation. We realized afterward that ya know its hard to out awkward missionaries..Our job is to talk to people abotu religion..The most awkard thing you could bring up in conversation X)  So if you can master that than you can talk about anything with ease.  #lessonlearned

Then i saw this couple with sick dreads and i walked up to them and asked them about how long they had grown them for and where they were form and all this random stuff.  theyuwere super cool and normal people.  It was refreshing and they were such a cool couple.  We coulodnt start any religious convo with them but that was fine.  Just planting a good seed is just as good as that.

Spiritual Thought :
Nothing too much to say but i want ot talk about positivity (which Sora Ivory says isnt a word).  I was pretty butthurt about leaving Ploiesti and all the work i have done seems kinda usueless here.  But I am learning more and more about the power of positive attitudes.  It really has changed my outlook on life to be a missionary in Romania and Moldova.  It has changed my outlook on people and hardships and just really what might constitute a "bad" life and i have learned to be more grateful for my life and the people i am serving here.  So as a result im trying to stoke myself out so i can serve the people of Oradea as effectively as possible.

my buddy at the bank


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Floarea Soarelui

Hey everyone!  This week was pretty slow and hard in terms of missionary work.  We had Zone training and some other random things that stopped us from doing a lot of work. But on the bright side we planned this week to be super good!  So i am excited for that.

Like I said before, we had Zone Training which was the only significant event besides going to the Branch Presidents house for dinner.  His wife is from America so the meal was like being in an american home again X)  It was great!

Road Trip!
Anywho, Zone Training..  We had a couple presentations on how to make our zone wokr more effective and we showcased some principles and contacting approaches to help make that happen!  It was good i think.  President Ivory aslo talked  about how to gauge success as a missionary.  And we compared it to saying you can gauge your success by your efforts and sacrifices to help establish the church in your area.  From that, we can work with confidence knowing we are doing well.  I thought it was really inspiring and a good pick me up for the rest of the week which kinda blew...

Other than that event, we tried some contacting throuought the week and it all kinda failed...with the exception of some gypsy chix flirtin up a storm with us...And all the judgement form the bystanders..Oh well..

Overall, it was kinda a hard week but we learned to pick our heads up and move forward!
Road trip!

Spiritual Thought:
I just want to end with an experience i shared at Zone training.  So at the beginning of my mission i had a hard time with many things but more specifically talking with people.  I mean, once i get warmed up with people, i talk nonstop..Thats a trait i have had my whole life, but going out of my way to talk to people who arnt specifically going to be the kindest soul to me, was somewhat discouraging..And i remember praying earnestly for most my mission saying "Lord, please please help me talk to people.  I want to declare your word and be a good missionary but im afraid and the people are sometimes mean here..Please, i need you.".  And that prayer i offered for a long time and slowly and slowly i built that quality of talking without realizing it.  While i was in Chisinau at the end, i made a goal to become a good contacter and talk to people and have good people skills.  And until my interview with president and the encouragement of so many missionaries, i finally have noticed that change more and more this transfer.  President Ivory and missionaries of my mission were discussing the change they see in me since i came into the mission and after pondering about it and seeing myself contact, i realized that the fears i once had were vanished and the things that were weak about me were made strong (but obviously i still have a lot to improve).  Im grateful for this opportunity i have as a missionary to reflect on myself and to grow and progress.  Through Jesus Christ we can change and change for the better.

Have a good week everyone!
Vârstnicul Casio Nango

ps the pics are from our trip to Targoviste and we visited a referal as well as explored the city, the royal garden and the tower/castle ruins.  It was great! 
Knights at the round tables


senior photos #purdy

companion fights

so hawt


thugz of targoviste

Red and I

not the true church ;)

Peace Homies

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Working with Unweariness

                                                                                     This week was GREAT!  Where to start?!
First of all, we started the week by helping the Jeppesens (humanitarian senior couple) with their wheelchair project.  They drove us all over Ploiesti to check the status of the wheelchairs that have been distributed by the church through a company called Motivation Romania.  We met some people that were grateful for the visit and others...not so grateful..However, we met one of the coolest guys i have ever met in Romania..

Story 1
His name was Kiss Zoltan...The weirdest name i have heard as well..He has Hungarian ancestry.  ANywho, as soon as we entered through his front gate into his make-shift garage, i knew he was gunna be a chill guy.  In the middle of his garage was a worktable with a  custom motorcycle that he was working on. Throughout the garage were bike parts, car parts, bicycles, trikes, etc.  Trying to stop myself from hyperventilating, we continued into his house and saw paintings made by him, a guitar and old vintage stuff.  I knew this man would be my friend automatically.  BUT WAIT, it gets even better. He had an accident that ended up making him lose his leg and throughout his life, he has dedicated his life to just being a good person and contributing to society.  He made a custom car for his friend at age 23, he makes various types of tricked-out trike.wheelchair contraptions for those who cant afford professionally graded ones, he makes motorcycles for those without limbs..He is literally such a good and smart guy.  

I was super disappointed cuz when we did this wheelchair endevour, we wernt allowed to proselyte..So introducing the gospel wouldnt have been possible..So, we are hoping that if we are ever in the neighborhood again or think of something that applies to him, we can stop on by and see what we can do.   So chill.

Later this week, we had exchanges with the elders from Brasov.  That was fun but unfortunately, it continued our week of bad finding.  No one was really receptive this week.  On the day of the exchnage, we actually tracted 3 blocs and only had 2 people even try the survey..#trials..

Story 2
We wanted to attack this week unwearingly and GET INTO SOMEONES HOUSE with the sondaj and have the faith to teach them the restoration and set up a return appointment. The whole week dragged on. We never seemed like we were going to reach the goal. Door after door after door, slammed, rejected, yada yada. On Friday, never did we have such a bad day of contacting. People treated us almost inhumanely..After about 2 blocs and some failed street contacting, we were ready to call it quits. But we were so far away from the house, we decided to try at least one more bloc. Afterall it was only 7:30 pm and we wernt particularly hungry. So we approached a bloc and a lady happens to walk out of it as soon as we approach. Thankfully, we rush in and head to the top floor.  We were pumped! #nocoincidences 3 floors of no responses and We are about ready to head home again..But then the first person to answer was a man named Ioan and he was shirtless... Of course all i could think was "Well..Here we go again..Shirtless man gunna slam the door on the nicely dressed satan worshipers.." But we decided to be bold and make this one count. We tell him about the sondaj and he agrees and Elder Haws asked the gentleman if we can enter and he allows us in! We did it, we got in! We sat down with him and his wife and did the sondaj and they were looking for a way to come closer to God. And at the end we were able to share the restoration and they agreed to meet again. We told them about the 5 lessons and they said sure. It was a miracle and a witness of the Hand of the Lord in my life. Such a great experience!
We finished the week with Monday being 4th of July.  Yay!  We also had Mission Leadership Coucil which was a blast of fun, food and spiritual nourishment.   The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders from all over the mission all met at the mission home and we had a BBQ and chatted.  It was great.  Afterwards we started the spiritual council thing.  It was so uplifting!  We talked about starting another Book of Mormon challenge and many ideas that will allow us to take this mission to a greater level.  Im so excited for the times we are in!
Afterwards we bowled with the ZLs and STLs and President Ivory (of course he is good).

Spiritual Thought:
I know you are probably done reading by now but just skip this or bear with me, haha.   At MLC i was able to ponder my own conversion and feelings on different things in the church.  And i realized something.  I really dont ever want to go inactive! I dont want to go back and long for what i had.  I was watching this mormon message talking about Lots wife turning to a pillar of salt after she looked back at the city.  And it said that she wasnt necessarily turned to salt due to her looking back but it was for the longing of what she once had.
I was able to reflect and many times i say "if only before i was baptised, I_____" or what if after the mission I __________". Sometimes i say things of this nature due to regrets and sometimes just to say i lived a more full "teenage experience"  but i was able to think about the "blessed and happy state" i have experienced in the last 2 years.  After many doubts,opposition, annoying members, coming on a mission and etc, i have always held to what has led me to the greatest happiness i have received.  And that is the gospel.  I cant say i will be perfect but the things that will help me to stay happy are in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is why im in Romania.  To share these things and help them see the "blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God".  To share my favorite doctrine being that their family can be together forever.   And i know that this is true.
Varstnicul Casio Nango
Thugz of Ploiesti
District unity right there

Elder Swafford and son

Subway thugz

Bowling at Promenda