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