Romania, Bucharest Mission: Sept. 2010 - Sept. 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'll Never Forget My Experiences in Romania!

Farewell Romania - I'll Miss You!

Dear Loved Ones,

   Hey, it's Elder Lee! It's the last email of my mission! Today is the last P-day I have here in Mihai Bravu. This whole week is just a week of lasts for me. It's hard to believe that the time has just about come for me to go. I have loved my mission immensely. I will be forever grateful for it. I hope I don't get too sad when I'm back home, thinking back on all my mission memories. I guess it's a good thing to hop right back into school, right? I hope I survive writing papers and taking tests; that's all you do in college. I'm so looking forward to seeing family and old friends at home and at BYU! I've really had the time of my life serving in the Romania/Moldova Mission, escpecially the time I have had this summer in good old Mihai Bravu. It was a dream come true to serve with Elder Knapp too! I'll miss him. He's doing so well.

   This past week has been a little weird for me. I finally started to realize that my time is about out. It hit me a little bit that I'll be seeing you, mom and dad, in just a couple of days! Elder Nilsson and I have had a blast serving together. We really have done a good job together and have learned a lot together. We didn't have much happen this last week in terms of busy missionary work; our investigators dissapeared on us! However, it has been a great week. I have been cherishing every last day I have. Time goes too fast. It's not fair! We were able to hang out one more time with Elder Farr and Elder Kebker last Tuesday. They both left for home last Wednesday. We ate at a pretty good Mexican restaurant called El Torito (I don't know if it's the same as that one back at home). It was tasty, and spicy! The spiciness was a surprise. I got some tasty chicken enchiladas. We went to see a baptism at Panduri. It was really cool. Guess who showed up? Daniel from Bacau! He was hanging around in Constanta (he hung out with the missionaries there, including Elder Knapp!) and then he dropped by in Buc to say bye to Elder Fonnesbeck and me one last time. It was good to see him again. I enjoyed my last transfer day at the Gara. I actually didn't get my newly-bound scriptures yet, so maybe it would be cool to have Sara get them for me. They should be done by this point. The plan originally was to have Elder Nilsson bring them home with him in September. It would be really nice if Sara brought them back with her (if they are done by then). I hope she has enjoyed being in Cluj. I would have loved to see that city. At least my scriptures have been there!

   Elder Nilsson and I had ribs the other day for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. It's funny, because we both went there last year for our year-mark together. And we both got ribs there too. The ribs there are really good. We also enjoyed watching some of the Olympics on the t.v. while we were eating. We had a good last district meeting about sacrifice and consecration. The new district leader is Elder Schaub (who just got out of the office). He's with Elder Fonnesbeck for now, then he will go to Elder Nilsson when we leave. Elder Durand is in the office for his last four weeks with Elder Awerkamp. He is going to leave 2 weeks early to take the ACT test and to try to get into BYU-Idaho. Our sisters have been really fun these last two weeks. Sora Sam is with Sora Stark (who is from southern California somewhere). She got transferred from Galati. She's hilarious. I'll miss all of these fun missionaries that I've gotten to know so well. We made one last visit to the Bulgarasu's with the sisters. I love the Bulgarasu's. They have so much faith!

   My last Sunday in the branch was great. It was fast and testimony meeting. I bore my last testimony! So did Elder Fonnesbeck. Our recent convert, Flavian, came and bore a great testimony as well. He just got back from a young single adult confrence in Hungary! He said he loved it, and I was super happy that he was able to go and that he had great time. We ate Sora Gorzo's famous stuffed peppers for lunch after church. Then, on Sunday evening, we got to go to a fireside/farewell for the Radu's. They are the first Romanian senior couple missionaries ever! They just left today to go and serve 23 months as temple workers in the Bern, Switzerland temple. It was a great fireside. They are such great examples to all the members, even to all of us missionaries. It was cool to be able to see them for the last time and say bye. It was a historical event!

  Today is my last P-day. We're going to take a tour of Casa Poporului--my 2nd time. I need to start packing pretty soon! I hope to enjoy my last 3 days here in Buc. Mom and dad, I'm excited to see you guys and be with you here in Romania for a week. We'll have a great time. I'm glad that everyone is doing well at home. Chris is enjoying Dartmouth I hear. That's so cute that Kenadee wanted to talk to me. She doesn't even quite know who I am yet! Anyways, I will be happy to be back into the real world again. But, I'll miss being a full-time missionary in this beautiful country among these faithful Romanian saints so much. I have learned everything that I needed to learn and I am grateful for that. Now, I'll feel so much more ready to deal with life's challenges. I love you all. I'll see you all real soon. Have a great week. La revedere!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Love Serving in Bucharest!

My Days in Bucharest are Numbered!

Dear Loved Ones,

   Hey, so another week has already quickly passed. This transfer has come to its end. Fifteen transfers are done! We found out what will be happening: I will just stay another week with Elder Nilsson, and an office elder, Elder Schaub, will be with Elder Fonnesbeck for a week. It's the last transfer day for me this Wednesday. I hope to go and enjoy being around some missionary friends for the last time. Also, I hope to get my scriptures back from Cluj. I'm actually not sure that they will be done by then. It would kinda be a bummer if I don't get them on Wednesday, but, it's ok. Elder Nilsson would be fine with bringing them home with him in September. Then, we could meet up and hang out and I could get my scriptures from him! So, I may not have my own scriptures for a little while if that were to happen. We've had a good week.

   We've been trying to keep teaching Mihai and Ioana, our prime investigators, about the importance of prayer, baptism, and the commandments. We had one lesson with them this past week. Ioana is still slower at understanding, but she did come to church last week. Mihai understands a little better, but he has not come to church at all. We had a lesson set up with them and a member--Florin--but they didn't show up. They also didn't come to church yesterday either. They have a baptismal date for August 11th, but I am pretty sure that date will be moved back. It's just hard to gauge their seriousness. Mihai also smokes and drinks a little, and has been living with his girlfriend for 7 years! So, we really need to get the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity fully taught to them. Other than them, we're still working with Flavian, Ana, Tene, and Phil. We had a lesson with Tene and reviewed with him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. He's a great guy and lives the Gospel happily. We had a very good lesson with Flavian about the "Why" of priesthood service (using Pres. Uchtdorf's recent conference talk). We invited him to pray and to ask God to be sure he is ready to receive the priesthood. He feels ready. He's really been enjoying church and reading the BOM on his own. He says it makes his days and weeks so much better. Also, he will be going to a young single adult week-long conference in Hungary this week. He is excited, and so are we!

   We have had a lot of fun as a district. I'll miss all these missionaries when I leave. I'll get to see Elder Fonnesbeck and eventually Elder Nilsson back at BYU though. Elder Fonnesbeck will be living with Elder Farr in a condo somewhere near campus. So, it'll be fun to see both of them. Elder Farr is going home this Wednesday! He actually stayed the night with us (after getting here from Sibiu) and had breakfast with us this morning. It's been fun to talk about all the stuff we've done (I was with him when I first came to Buc last year, and Elder Nilsson was with him in Chisinau this last winter). We had a good district meeting about how to use the BOM in answering questions of the soul. We each wrote a question, then mixed them up, received someone else's question, then had to use only the BOM to find an answer. Mine read, "What happens to the Holy Ghost after the Millenium? Will he ever get a body?" Thanks Elder Durand! (It was his question). So, I found a good verse for it in the book of Jacob, chapter 4, verse 14. We all had a good laugh. I am pretty sure that question is not pertinent to our personal salvation! After the meeting, we had ice cream that the Wolsey's brought, then took some fun district pictures outside the church.

   We finally finished english classes. We had four people show up in advanced. It was fun. Church was nice. Elder Doloscan (he came back from Italy into the mission again) spoke, as well as Elder and Sora Wolsey. They are actually going home in one or two weeks! The new humanitarian senior couple arrived Saturday and came to church. They are the Francom's. I think they are from Canada. Elder Francom was already sustained to be the 1st counselor in the branch presidency! We sang "Secret Prayer" as a branch choir during sacrament meeting. We all ate and sang hymns at Sora Gorzo's afterwards. I only have two more Sundays in Romania!

   It's good that everyone is doing well at home. That's cool that Chris is at Dartmouth now. I hope he enjoys his time there. I'm excited to hear that Briggs will submit his mission papers soon. I hope Dad enjoys his short trip to Sacramento. Mom and dad, I'm going to see you guys in like a week and a half! Isn't that a little strange? We'll have a lot of fun! Oh yeah, I have made a few purchases recently. I got a white shirt, a pair of jeans, new socks, a new tie, and a big Romania picture book with gorgeous pictures of the country. I still may want to get one more suit and some new shoes as well. We'll see! Anyways, I hope you have a good week. Va iubesc. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 23, 2012

Graffiti? I Think Not!

Another Great Week In Bucharest!

Dear friends and family,

   Good Monday. It's a new week again. It's getting close to August. Summer has been going very fast! The weather here in Buc has sort of heated up, but I don't think it feels as humid. It's been a little windy too. So, it feels alright. I've had another good week here in the big city. Elder Nilsson and I have done a good job this week. We are happier because we have improved at contacting people and staying diligent. Also, we made contact again with Mihai (the investigator that keeps disappearing on us). We also met his mom, Ioana! They invited us over to their home for a lesson. They live right near the church. Mihai has been doing well and has read from the BOM, but he hasn't ever come to church yet. His mom, Ioana, is a very nice lady who is interested in what we have. She has trouble reading though, and we're trying to help her better understand the BOM and Restoration. We also taught her about prayer. She came to church! She enjoyed it too! It has been a nice opportunity for Elder Nilsson and me to see some more progress with them, and to give us more to do! We also met with Phil (one of the members from Cameroon, Africa). He got baptized in December or January. He's a funny guy. We had an interesting lesson. We originally planned to review with him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. He wanted us to tell him something he didn't know. So we asked him about fasting, and it eventually turned into a little lesson on fasting and the spiritual power it can bring. He's been doing well. He knows the doctrine well and has a lot of faith in God.

   We had interviews with President and Sora Hill (and the APs) on Wednesday. We had them at the mission home. I had a good time there talking with them. I told the Hill's that Elder Nilsson and I are having a great time together and are trying to finish strong. I'm really glad that I don't feel really anxious or trunky at all. I'm glad to be working diligently to the end. Elder Nilsson is a great example of diligence and obedience to me. Pres. Hill also gave me a renewed temple recommend (in Romanian!). My old one expires July 31st. So, I got an interview and got a new one which lasts until February, I think. The APs talked to us about personal integrity and obedience. Elder Nilsson and I enjoyed our time spent there at the mission home. We had a nice district meeting about the importance of studies. We all shared some of our favorite scriptures. My favorite scripture always changes! I thought about it and decided to share Moroni 10: 32-33. I love those verses. Even though we cannot be perfect in this life, we can become "perfect in Christ" by his grace and love. Through the Atonement of Christ, we can become "holy, without spot." I always thought it would be so neat to be spotless before God. It can happen, but only through our own faith in Christ and repentance. We all shared some nice scriptures together as a district. We had a good advanced english class--4 people came. We talked about Subway, vacations, sites to see in Romania and in the U.S., and more. The students enjoyed it. Finally, Sunday was nice. We heard talks about God, eternal families, and service in Sacrament meeting. Elder Nilsson and I taught the Sunday school lesson about the Word of Wisdom. We kinda of both felt a little unprepared at first (because we didn't have much time to prepare in the first place). However, as we got talking about it using D&C 89, we both felt that the Spirit was present and guiding our words. I really enjoy the feeling of teaching and saying what the Spirit helps me to say. At the end of our lesson, we sang "In Our Lovely Deseret!" We had a good meal at Sora Gorzo's (sarmale). It was a refreshing Sunday and a good week.

   So, it sounds like things are going well back home. Mom and dad, I read about what you said concerning the McFadden's favor. They were just wondering if you could bring two laptops over for some reason. It's probably not a problem if you guys don't have the room to take them. I'm sure the McFadden's will get them some other way. If he calls me again, I'll let him know. Or, you guys can email him back. It's good that Chris and Liz's baby is alright. Hopefully, it all works out and Chris can go to Dartmouth. Their house is looking nice. How are Jamie and Mark doing? I rarely get emails from Jamers. I'm excited to see them in Redlands when I get back. That's exciting that Elder Rowley's dad is getting him in Chile. It will be fun to see him soon. Dad, I already asked Pres. Hill about storing one of my luggages, and he said it would be fine. I think everything should be in order for our week together when you guys come here. Anyways, I guess that's about it for this week. Have a good one! Ciao.

Love, Elder Lee