Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Life is About...

This is Romania:

4 1/2 years ago the only thing I knew about Romania was that Dracula lived there and that it was somewhere in Europe. That all changed in February of 2009 when I was called to be a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After living there for two years as a missionary and living there again this Summer as a student, Romania is no longer an unknown country that makes me think of techno music; it's now a country I love...it's another home...it's a part of me

Although the country itself is beautiful (as can be seen above), it's not the mountains, the endless fields, or the ancient castles that made me love this country. It's the people

I love Romanians. I love how they do everything they can to make guests feel at home. I love how they make you keep eating, even if you're full. I love how they team carry big bags. I love how they use "mami" as an endearing term. I love how they learn so many different languages. I love how family is everything to them. I love how the old men and women sit on benches outside their houses in the evening. I love their sense of humor. I love their sincerity when they pray using their own words. I love how a restaurant won't kick you out if you stay for a long time talking with your friends and/or family. I love how open they are once you get to know them.

Leaving Romania after my mission was one of the hardest things I've ever done because I didn't know if I'd ever be back. I was scared this time would be the same. But it wasn't. Because I know I'll be back.  My time with Romania is just starting, and I can't think of many things more exciting than that.

This Summer taught me that life gives us so many opportunities to go out and make a difference in the world. We don't always know how we're going to do it, but if we work towards something we love, we'll get there. Life is more than living each day just because that's what we've been doing as long as we can remember. Life is about finding your purpose, it's about finding how you can leave it better than you found it. Sometimes that happens by doing great and marvelous things, but most of the time it happens by talking with someone around you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Mom's Response

I was talking to my Mom today via Skype and, like Moms always do, she said the exact thing that I needed to hear. I don't want to say that it's an answer to the questions I asked in my last post, "what do I have to do to change the world?", but thinking about it has helped me to feel a lot less frustration and a lot more hope. A lot of what I'm going to say are her thoughts phrased in my words. So, thanks in advance Mom!

Mom and Brittany last Christmas
We were talking about how we don't know where we're going to end up in 10 years and how I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish the things I've felt so strongly that I need to do in this life. And then she shared with me her thoughts on Christ feeding the 5000 in the Bible.

This is one of the only miracles that is mentioned in all four gospels of the New Testament. There was a large multitude gathered in the desert to hear Christ speak. Nobody had food to eat and Christ asked His disciples how all of the people will be fed. The disciples said they didn't have enough money to buy everyone food. Then, as many already know, Christ turned 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish into enough food to fill all 5000 people.

What I want to focus on though, is only found in John's account. He is the only one that mentions who brought the bread.

"There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes..."

John 6:9

Here's a boy who came to listen to Jesus Christ. He came prepared to listen to the Savior. All he wanted to do was listen to Him and learn. Once my Mom started talking about the lad, I felt my insides begin to warm. Christ took what this lad had to offer, and made it so much more. He blessed the bread and fish and fed it to all 5000 people, so that they were full. 


What I found amazing in this is that that lad, that boy who just wanted to listen to Christ, was used as a tool for Christ to work his miracle. Every single one of us can be that lad and bring to Christ our sincere desire to do what's right, and He will make it so much more. I know, some people don't believe that this happened and others don't believe that things like this can still happen today. But I do. I know that Christ can work miracles, and I know that I can be that lad. 

I don't know how, but I know that as I do everything I can, Christ will make it even more. I know that I can be that lad. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

What Do I Have to Do to Change the World??

Why I first came to Romania: 

First time on Romanian soil in August 2009

Why I'm back in Romania:

The only pic of me in class.
Yes, that's a stray dog.

I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to come back to Romania and study its beautiful language (in case you didn't know...that's Romanian) for six weeks. Needless to say, I absolutely love this language, but I won't bore you guys with all of the ins and outs of what I've been learning. 

Studying Romanian was the base for me coming here, but I had some other things that I wanted to accomplish while here. This includes seeing things I didn't get to see as a missionary, meeting up with some amazing people that I met on my mission, and simply being able to experience Romanian culture as a student.

However, one thing that I really wanted to get done was to get a feel for what I can do to help this country to develop. Romania is a really interesting country because there is so much poverty, but there's also a lot of people who aren't suffering. It's pretty confusing, and I wanted to get a better understanding of what is happening in the country. I've been learning a lot about microfinance and microenterprise education back in Provo and I was hoping to find an economy where these principles could work here in Romania.

Being back at school and learning about the theories of microfinance got me pumped because I was convinced it would be one of the ways that Romania could develop. I thought I knew how to change the world. But since being here...I'm more confused than before. I'm by no means an expert, but it's clear to me that these principles wouldn't work as well as I thought they would. To be dramatic and all, I've had a pretty broad range of emotions trying to cope with this: denial, confusion, frustration, laughter, apathy, and then back to confusion.

All I want to do is help this county and these people that I love so much to progress. I don't even want to change the whole world right now...just Romania. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO HARD? Why can't my good intentions and training from school equip me with the necessary tools and knowledge to help? What the heck am I supposed to do

This is where I would ideally put the answer to this question. In bold for all to know. But I really don't know what I'm supposed to do. I don't. But I know that it's worth it to keep trying

Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm Back

In case you didn't know....

I'm back. I'M BACK. I'M BACK!

I know, I know...if you know me then you know that I've been back in Romania for over a month now. I just haven't gotten around to updating the blog, which is a pitty because there's so much I want to write about. But this will have to do for now.

While preparing to come back to Romania I was too excited to think much about whether or not it would be weird to be back not as a missionary. After being here for a while, I can say that at first it was super weird. It was like constant deja vu, being reminded of the people I taught, stopping people on the street and talking to them about Christ, always being with a companion. But now I'm not stopping people on the street and I'm not constantly with someone. For the first couple days I think my brain was on overload trying to accept that I was back in Romania not as a missionary. However, many experiences like this:

Parcul Cișmigiu. Please notice that suc+old men=paradise
helped me to quickly get over that. One of the best things about being back is being able to relax in the parks with my suc (juice) and the old men, appreciate the beauty that is Romania, and just experience life here. 


I have a lot of things I've learned since being here, but for now I'll just leave you guys with some pictures until I put into words the adventures I've been having so far. Stay tuned, there is definitely more to come. 

Cimitirul Vesel (The Merry Cemetery)
Piața Universității-București
Brașov Centru


I'm pretty happy

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Little Story about Miracles

An Explanatory Story before the Miracles:

One Saturday in high school me and my family took a trip to the mall. My padre works in the mall administration so his ideal weekend doesn't involve being at the mall, I had never willingly walked into a mall by myself until I was 23, and my little brother was infatuated with Pokemon at the time (I mean, I think we all still are deep down). Needless to say, it was the chicas idea to drag us there. We walked into a store that sold everything leather...from wallets to those nasty leather pants that were hip in the early 90's. In the store my Dad kept insisting that I get a leather jacket. I didn't want to offend him so I told him, "Dad, I would never wear that in public and it would be a huge waste of your money." I obviously wasn't very tactful at that point in my adolescence.  Why am I telling you this?? Because impulsiveness kind of runs in my family. Sometimes we can be impulsive buyers, sometimes we (cough cough Brittany) can be impulsive when a friend picks on me walking home from the bus stop, and sometimes we can be impulsive when we decide to go to Myrtle Beach on a days notice.


On to the Miracles

This last year I had my dream job as a Freshman Mentor, and had no plans of changing that. One day I was reading in The Book of Mormon about how Christ will help us to do things that we cannot do on our own. I felt the Spirit testify to me that Christ will guide me to succeeding in using economics to help those who lack the temporal means to provide for themselves and their families. I then started to (impulsively) think about why I'm waiting for this to happen. I'm tired of waiting until I'm graduated, until I have money, until _____. What's stopping me from contributing now?

I started to go through what was taking up my time and holding me back from getting out there and helping:

  • School- Well, I need to get an education so I can help. 
  • Church- First off I love church, and I can't do any of this without God.
  • Friends- We all know that we need friends to stay connected with humanity.
  • Work-.........

I needed a job, but it did take up a lot of time. I then got a very strong impression that I needed to quit my job as a Freshman Mentor. Uh......what? I first tried to talk myself out of it by concluding that I was just buying into my impulsive personality. But I kept getting the impression to quit my job and start looking for work in an area that will help me reach my career and life goals. Talk about scary.

The next day I sent an email to my boss telling him that I will no longer be working as a Freshman Mentor. I knew God had some plan, but I was scared out of my mind. The next week I ran into an old friend on campus. After catching up he told me that there was a job opening for an Internship Director at the Ballard Center for Creating Self-Reliance, it's a center on campus that helps students to make a social impact while still in school. Coincidence? I think not. I ended up getting hired for the job not a week after I quit Freshman Mentoring.

To further add to the miracle, I ended up taking an Econ class this Spring that focuses on why poor countries are poor and what explains the difference in growth rates among countries throughout the world. I've never been so fascinated by an Econ class in my life. My professor mentioned that she's looking for research assistants, so I talked with her and now I'm helping her conduct her research.

Moral of the Story

Basically, what I've got out of all of this is that God has a specific plan for each of us, and although at times it seems like we're never going to get there, as long as we listen to Him, He'll help us out. The whole listening part is where it's tricky though. It's not always easy, but we need to know who we are. I realize that I can be impulsive, but knowing this helps me to understand that God isn't going to change who I am, but He will work with my personality. He knows that inspiring youtube videos call me to action, so He interacts with me in ways that are perfect for me. That's what I love about God-He isn't some big boss who tries to form us into someone we're not. God is a loving Heavenly Father who knows our true potential and helps us to become our best selves, and we shouldn't settle for anything less.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

47 Days

In 47 days I go back to Romania. Say wha?! 

In 47 days I get to see things like this: 


Somewhere between Arad and București


In 47 days I get to see people like this:

Sora Negriu

Familia Jureschi și Ungureanu

Sora Gabi

Familia Kalmuski

In 47 days I get to study this language again:

at this University:

In 47 days....I get to go back to my second home. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Suppi Clan

The story of my life after finals: Feeling guilty for not studying

It's kind of like when I came home from the mission and felt like I should be knocking on my neighbors doors to talk about Christ instead of sitting down for 15 minutes. 

Finals ended this week, the weather is incredible, I'm working on a puzzle with my roommates, and it's graduation weekend! Basically, it's a great week! It's fun to see how many people have learned so much at BYU and see their pure excitement for being done. I'm the biggest fan of college, but I will be so happy when I graduate. Not only knowing that I was able to tackle it and succeed, but also being equipped with the tools to go out into the real world and make a difference! 

With graduation comes families visiting. It's been fun to meet some of my friend's parents and siblings and to catch up with other family members of friends that I've met before. It's also made me realize how much I miss my family. Now, before you call me a baby, let a brotha explain himself. Here's a little history about how the Suppes family started.

Disclaimer: I wish I had photos with me...but they are home in NC, so you'll have to bear with my drawings...

This History of the Suppes Family 


Bart Suppes married his lovely bride, Valerie Browning, in Mesa, Arizona on January 6th. 


Their first daughter, Brittany Elise Suppes, was born on July 10th in Phoenix, Arizona. They were young, poor, and happy.


Their second daughter, Maegan Elizabeth Suppes, was born in Eureka, California on August 29th. Still young, still happy, and still poor. This was their first time being away from their family in Arizona and they were experiencing the Suppes journey. This started a life-long pattern of creating their own home wherever they were in the country. 


Probably the happiest moment in their lives, their first son Jeffrey Keith Suppes was born in Eureka, California on the blessed day of January 26th. Am I biased? Not at all. This brought the Suppes family to an incomplete number of 5. 


The Suppi clan moved around a lot. They moved from Eureka to Pleasanton, CA. They then moved to Hattiesburg  Mississippi. Moving around allowed the kids to grow close together. All they had was each other, so they basically became each other's support system. Although there was a lot of change in their young lives, the constant was family. 


The complete number of 6 happened on December 7th of this year when Dallin Browning Suppes was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Brittany, Maegan and Jeff loved having a younger sibling, nicknamed "Chunky Monkey" for his well-rounded cheeks. 


The Suppes' moved to Asheville, North Carolina, giving them yet another opportunity to draw on each other for support. This is where most of them claim that they grew up. It was filled with awesome opportunities. They grew from a young family to a family with teenagers...who went to college and got their drivers licenses...with kids who were in school plays...with their youngest child going to kindergarden....etc.


The first child moved off to college. In NC it's not extremely common to move far away for college, but Brittany started the tradition by moving out to Arizona. It was tough having her gone, but the Suppi clan learned how to develop relationships with each other even when they lived across the country from each other. A little after going to college she moved to Utah and married the love of her life, Todd Cottle.


With Brittany in college, the Suppes' moved to Apex, North Carolina, completing (to date) their many moves. This was a tough one for Maegan and Jeff because it was in the middle of high school...but it caused the whole family, more than ever, to really rely on each other. The kids relied on each other for not only support, but for a social life. 


Maegan graduated from high school and decided to go to BYU-Idaho for college. That means that 2/4 children were out of the house in different states. Luckily, they were basically pros at the whole long-distance family thing by now because of Brittany.


Jeff graduated from high school and against all odds ended up going to BYU in Provo, Utah for college. 


Jeff moved to Romania for a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Maegan continued getting her college degree in communications, Brittany and Todd moved from Utah to Tennessee onto a beautiful farm, Dallin rocked it through middle school, and Bart and Valerie kept on running a family like it's nobody's business. 


Maegan graduated from college and works in Phoenix, AZ. Dallin is almost halfway done with high school at Apex High. Brittany and Todd are embracing our southern roots near Nashville, TN. Jeff is back at BYU trying to make it to graduation. Bart and Valerie are still being awesome parents, bringing the family together. 


Why am I telling you all of this? Because the past couple of days have proven to me that no matter what happens in my life I know that my constant is my family. As you've seen, I've basically grown up moving around and for the past 9 years have lived with my family not in the same state. But do you want to know something? My family has grown closer together with every move, with every kid leaving the house. I honestly don't think that I would be as close to my family as I am today if we would have all stayed in NC. Being away from each other has caused us to not only keep in constant touch with each other, but it's made me realize how special it is when we do all get together. Am I saying you have to live in 4 separate states to be a close family? Not even a little. But for my family it works. Not only does it work, but we are so close because of it. 

Do I get to see my family this week? No. Do I get to see my family this Summer? No. Do I get to see my family before Christmas? No. But it's ok because we make it work. Not only do we make it work, but we love each other more each and every day. I'd love to be able to be with my family right now...but I know that that's not possible. And that's ok too. Because I know that they are there via phone, skype, text, or email whenever I need them. 

Moral of the story, a family is worth it.