So, I have only been here for 5 days, but I already like it here. The people seem nicer, and I like the smaller town vibe. Deva is situated up against some Carpathian foothills, with a big hill and a cetate (fortress) on top overlooking the city. I havent been up there yet, but we are planning on going there today! There is also a Hollywood-esque sign saying Deva. I already feel pretty comfortable here. It makes me want to serve somewhere even deeper into the mountains, like Brașov or something. Deva is right in between Transylvania and the west. It is in the Arad zone. I already like Elder Newton. He is from Salt Lake City and went to U of U for a year before (sorry again Dad). He is super nice, super diligent, and super obedient. We get along well together. We have already had 7 lessons and tons of contacting time in since we have been together for the past 4 days! He is the new branch president here. He is getting the hang of it. He started in Craiova, then Chișinău, then Alexandria, where he served with Elder Nelson from my group. He just replaced Elder Vekony (the Hungarian elder who was branch president here). The branch is really cool. About 10-15 people actively attend church. There where about 15 people or so there just yesterday. There are some really cool members, including the Foteas, who are a nice family. I think Brother Fotea used to be a branch president here. He served a mission somewhere. They have some fun little children. The villa is a little bit older, but it is nice. My first day of church was excellent. Elder Laherty and I introduced ourselves and bore testimonies. Elder Newton and I live in a nice apartment. The other elders do too. We only live around 2 minutes away from each other, and the villa is close to us too. It has been a little cloudy and sprinkly here the past 3 days, but it is not cold really.
The city is kind of on the smaller side (80,000 or something), but I really like it. Somehow, there is more progress here than there was in Constanta. Constanta is like 10 times bigger than here! I am grateful for how the work is moving here. We talked to a girl, Roxana, who said she wants to be baptized. We just need to set a date and she needs to keep coming to church. There is another investigator close to baptism too. Elder Newton and I have talked to tons of new people on the streets and in the blocks. While not all are receptive, a lot are. They accept a Book of Mormoan and some even want us to come talk more with them! The people here are way cool! We have a recent convert who is preparing to recieve the Aaronic Priesthood named Marian. The rest of the branch consists of a few older ladies and another new convert young man named Andrei (there are some others I know I am missing). It has been great and is great for me to be working harder than I ever have with Elder Newton. He is a hard worker.
So earlier in the week were my last 2 days in Constanta and the bus ride to Bucharest for transfers. It was a fun day! We arrived to the Gara in Bucharest and got to visit with other missionaries passing through. I got your packages mom! Thanks so much for the socks and food and cards and everything. I am sorry to say that I already finished those M and Ms! I was super happy to see Elder Gunter again! We visited a little and he is excited to be in Oradea with Elder Mikolyski. He did a great job as branch president in Bacău. I found my new zone leader Elder Bateman and we went out in the streets of Bucharest contacting around a little bit, catching up on things. He is only in his 7th transfer and has already trained and is now a zone leader (my zone leader!) I cannot believe I am already in my 4th. Time goes fast here. I met up with Elder Laherty of the group under me and we headed out on a 9 hour train ride with the sisters going to Arad. I was bummed out because practically the whole train ride was at night. Hence it was dark. Because of the darkness we could not see Transylvania! We went right through Brașov too. I only got to see the station sign saying Brașov outside. Dang. We arrived in Deva at 3 in the morning. I did not sleep at all on the train. I dont think I can sleep on trains. Unfortunately it was not a sleeper train. It was aight though. Since the first day here I have been working hard and seeing success! I am super glad to be here. I hope to be able to see baptisms here! I have only seen one so far- Dorin Tătărășanu in Bacău. I am feeling that we will see some because of how well we are working as a district and because of how receptive people are here. It is great! Next week we have a district conference in Arad. I am excited to go and see Arad! I am also very excited for General Conference coming up. I hope we can see it (at a members house or something). That is about the only news here so far.
It is good that everything is going well at home. That is cool that there is a revamped missionary bulletin thing at the church. Mom, take a picture of it and send it to me or something! I wanna see. I hope Chris can find a job somewhere and that Jamers and Mark enjoy Cali. Say hi to them for me Mom and dad. Send pics too please! Sorry I do not have pictures of Deva yet. Next week I will. I am excited to see the sites here, including that castle in Hunedoara. We will see if we can go soon Dad. I also think it would be exciting to go see it or another castle called Lipova (or something) as a whole zone! I am bummed that we dont have zone confernece this transfer. I am close to a lot of people in Arad zone. We will have interviews this transfer instead. I am looking forward to serving in this awesome city. I would not mind staying for another. Well, I am out of things to say and gotta get going. Good luck BYU basketball. Beat Florida again! I love you family and friends. Mulțumesc pentru tot! La revedere for now! Love, Elder Lee.