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

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Photos in Moldova & Romania

Christmas Antics in Romania

Buna ziua dragi frati si surori. I dunno if my grammar is correct thar, but anyways, Hello brothers and sisters! Ce faceti? I hope you're doing well, and had a great Christmas! I certainly did. Let's talk about stuff.

    SO this past week was the holidays, which meant a lot of fun. I got to do lots of fun things for Christmas time: Back on last Wednesday-Thursday, our zone got to go to Chisinau, Moldova for a Galati-Moldova Zone Christmas Extravaganza complete with a training meeting. It was a 2 day shpiel (thats a wierd word) full of travelling in freezing cold Maxi-Taxi's, getting through the border, arriving at the fancy villa (church building), eating lukewarm-delivered KFC, playing lots of board games, holiday games, singing Xmas hymns, feasting on the best honey baked ham of my life, holding a fireside/testimony meeting, staying in a fancy hotel, participating in a training meeting with role plays, going to a bustling piata (shops and stalls), and making the safe trip back "home" to Bacau. SNAP! It was fun, as you may imagine. That night, I also got a package from the Andreasen's with an awesome brown towel with "CTR" stitched in it. Va Multumesc!
   The next day was Christmas Eve. Throughout the day, me, Elder Gunter, and the other elders went carolling to member's homes and gave them brownies. We also hung out at an investigator's house (Daniel). Then, I got to Skype with the parents for 2 hours! I am thankful for how perfectly it worked out for us. It's good to know that ya'll (mom and dad) are doing well and hopefully didn't have too lonely of a Christmas (going to Tom and Kim's condo should be fun). Then, we had a sleepover as a district!

  The next day, Xmas day, was actually kinda boring compared to the previous days of the week. I had already opened my packages, went to Chisinau, and made the Skype call. So there wasn't much to do, except do more carolling and contacting at the blocs. We made those delicious "Idahoan" instant mashed taters and those cheese biscuits though. Thanks mom and dad! It was nice, though, to have a more relaxed Xmas day.

   Yesterday, at church, 5 members came! Better than 2, but still meager. It was a great meeting. It wasn't really a Xmas program though, because we already did that at the branch party last Saturday. Also, the weather warmed up a little for Xmas day. All the snow and ice had melted by the end of the day. However, today, the snow started up again.

   As for this week, and for New Year's, me and my district will visit a few members- Fratele (Brother) Iancu on Tuesday who is la tara (meaning in the countryside), and Sora Profira on New Year's Eve. Should be a fun week.

   Elder Gunter and I are doing great still and are trying to focus on finding more people and getting investigators to come to church! Bacau is still awesome. It'll be exciting to start a new year here.

   It's good to hear from home. I'm hoping you all had a great Christmas. Mom and dad, it was great to skype with you and get your email about how your Christmas went. I bet it was fun at the Andreasen's! What did you get for Xmas mom? How about you, Dad? How is the ward and work? I hope all is well. I got a short email from Elder Truman Rowley, and he is doing great in Chile.

   Well, that was my holidays! I love Christmas time and the spirit it brings. I can't think of anything else to say for today. I wish you all a Happy New Year's. Sanatate si Doamne ajuta! Lurve y'all! I'll talk next week. La revedere!

  -Cu drag, Elder Lee.

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Pictures of Bacau, Romania

Christmas is just about here!

  Hey folks. How goes it. The past week has been great. It's an exciting time of the year. I can't believe it's already Christmas. This has been like the fastest year of my life (and 3 months so far of my mission). How are you doing? I'm doing great. Let's talk about the past week and things that will happen this week, shall we?

    So, this past week, we finally got REAL snow. It's been cold, but not too cold. We have talked to a few of our investigators, but not many. The thing now is that we need to find more people. Our pool of investigators is getting smaller, so we're trying to focus on knocking  more blocks and giving out English class cards. It's probably a little tough right now just because it's so snowy, it's the holidays, and like I said before, the people here are very weefy. Elder Gunter and I are doing great! Elder Gunter's super awesome. I actually just found out that he's a quarter Russian. We get along so well now, so I'll miss him when I get transferred. He, however, will continue to stay in Bacau because he's branch president here. He still has like 13 more weeks here! I'll probably be transferred at the end of this, my 2nd, transfer, which will be at the beginning of February. Anyways, I'm loving Bacau.

   We had a fun week too. Just last Saturday (2 days ago) we had a branch Christmas party! Lots of people came too (like 18!). It was fun. We held it in our little church villa. First we had a little program, sang hymns, us missionaries sang Jingle Bells in English, then we watched "Joy to the World", a little church dvd bout Christ's birth and life. THEN, we ate food! We had salata de beuf, which is just like potato salad and egg salad mixed together. We also had SARMALE! I love sarmale. They were little miniature ones wrapped in cabbage and grape vine leaves full of rice, onions, beef, and pork, with smantana (sour cream) smothered all over it..............may I say delish? The meal was awesome. Also, a member dressed up as Santa and gave us all little bags of chocolate! Lots of people were there and good times were had by ALL.

   Now, contrasting the heavily attended party was church the next day. Get this: Only 2 members came. Two! So it was us 4 missionaries and 2 members. Party! Ha, just kidding. It was the least attended sacrament meeting I've ever been to in my life. But, it was a good meeting. I blessed the Sacrament for the first time in Romanian. I got it right the first time. yay! It was a bummer that so few people came. On top of that, no investigators came! But it's the Holidays, so I'm happy.

   I'm enjoying the package you sent me. mom and dad! When transfers were over, Elders Gauthier and Kebker came back from Bucharest with the package and also said there was one more for me, but they forgot it. I'm assuming that it's the Andreasen's. Thanks Andreasen's! I'm also excited for going to Chisinau for our Christmas party there! We'll leave on Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. in what's called a Maxi-taxi, which is just a big van transport. OH YEAH, and also, in the email today from Pres., we were told that Skype IS ALLOWED! Sorry, I told you last week (mom and dad) that it was not allowed, but that's what we were told. SO, I guess that means you should buy a webcam mom and dad. It's kinda annoying that just now I'm telling you. On Friday (Xmas Eve) we plan to make the skype (or call) at our regular internet cafe at 7 or 8 p.m. That means it'll be 9 or 10 a.m. in Redlands (are you at work? If so, then we can chat Saturday at the same time). I might (i hope i can) call you also in case you need help to get on skype. You just download it free and make a username and you "call" me or I call you with video chat. My name is "retroxhouse" and my email is "". Hopefully we can video chat through Skype at that time!

   Anyways, that's about it. Not many other exciting stories to tell, because it's the holidays. It's great to hear that Sora Holden got home safely. Haha, that must have been a memorable talk for her. That's pretty funny. It was exciting to see her here and I wish her the best being back in school.

   Well, That's it for today. I hope I said everything I wanted and needed to say. I wish you all a Craciun Fericit. Go carolling. Give presents to people. Remember what Christmas really means. If you remember what Christmas really means, you will feel all warm inside. I'm loving Christmas time as a missionary. It's the first time that I (I'm being brutally honest here) am putting Christ before Xbox 360's and iPods. The result is wonderful. I'll talk later. Have a good week and love Christmas. I'll do the same here in Romania.
Love y'all lots. Peace and blessins', peace and blessins'. Cu drag, Elder Lee

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Staying in Bacau for Christmas!

Buna Zuia oameni! Ce faceti? Fac bine astazi. Este aproape de Craciun! yay! Anyways, how are we all doing? I'm doing well, just like last week, and the week before that, and the week before that. Imi place Bacau foarte mult! It's been a great week here. AND, this week is transfer week! I'm done with my first transfer! It went pretty dang fast folks! 21 months left. So let's get talking about stuff please....

     It's been snowing on and off here the past week. The last few days have been -3 degrees Celsius which equates to like 27 degrees Farenheit. Not too bad, but a little on the chilly side my friends. This past week, we've had some success with talking to those progressing, but it's a bummer because we basically had to drop 2 guys because they never answered their dang phones! Also, we don't really have any solid baptismal dates yet for the 4 peeps we've been working with. We want to baptize a couple and their daughter, but they are getting divorced or something, so Elder Gunter and I have been helping them not only with lessons but also counseling them not to get divorced and how to manage their finances. I want to see them baptized, but we're unsure when they will be, maybe in January. We also keep it real with street contacting and bloc knocking! Man, people here are so stubborn (meaning those that are Orthodox) Lots of them have zero interest in our message. They don't even have a personal relationship with Christ like we do. However, I do like Catholics a lot, because some people we've talked to that are Catholics are very open-minded about our message and are super nice and courteous. So yeah, the work is still going. I've looked at my blog and want to say thank you parents for doing this. It's pretty fancy. I haven't yet emailed Tyler or any of my roommates on their missions, BUT, I've been looking at Tyler's blog and I am so jealous because he's having so much fun there! Don't get me wrong, I'm having a ton of fun too!

   So, about transfers....

   Well, the most important thing I should say first is that I am staying here in Bacau with Elder Gunter. Most bobocs don't leave their birth city, so it's no surprise. I think four of my district from the MTC are leaving their cities and moving! Also, one from my district here, Elder Bateman (who I have come to be really good friends with already) is being transferred to Brasov with Elder Schroedter as his comp. I'll miss him! So, the Elder coming here to replace him is Elder Kebker, whom I know because he was in the district ahead of me in the MTC. So yeah, a lot of changes for my first transfer, but I am staying right here! Yay! Also, Christmas is coming, so my zone (the mission's too big to have a mission-wide party) and the Chisinau zone in Moldova will meet to have a Christmas party and training meeting (a 2 day deal) It sounds fun! On Dec. 22-23 we will go up to Chisinau, Moldova and meet in the rented out Church villa! I get to go to Moldova! I hear that it's pretty cool up there from missionaries. We'll have a new pair of zone leaders for my Galati zone (Elders Toronto and Sullivan) Should be a fun transfer, also cold. Hmm, I'm excited for Christmas in Romania! I haven't gotten that christmas package yet, but I will soon I assume. Last week, I treated myself to a new pair of jeans at the mall here. They cost 100 lei, which equates to 30 something odd American dollars. Not bad. So yeah, dad, that was me using my card for the first time. It was at a really cool clothes store called Pull and Bear, which is popular in Europe.

   Hmm, so, we've been informed that Skype isn't allowed here for christmas :( Nu stiu de ce, but that's just the way it is. So I'll call you mom and dad, either on christmas eve or christmas day. The best time for me to call I'm guessing would be evening sometime (6 or 7). Stay tuned! I'm excited to call!

    Sounds like all is going well in Redlands and in work, school, and in the ward. Sanatate si Doamne ajuta! I hope you all have a merry Christmas and happy New Year and stuff like that. Hmm, here are some things of note in this last week:

1) we talked to a nice Catholic Priest.
2) we saw a cute little dog chasing away a bunch of pidgeons
3) we saw a passed out drunk guy on the sidewalk last night. I thought he was dead. But he wasn't.
4) we saw a dang adorable little girl wrapped up in snow gear runnin around. It was like "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie's little brother always gets way too bundled up from his mom.
5) I went on an exchange with Elder Gauthier and out of nowhere, a flippin mini blizzard hit us hard! It was fun.

   So, that's my week. I'm excited for 2nd transfer in Bacau! I lurve you all and miss y'all. have a fun holidays! I'll talk next week. La revedere!!! Cu drag, Elder Lee.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome to Snowy Bacau!

 Hey what up y'all? I apologize from the depths of my heart for the lack of my email last week. It's because the stupid email didn't send because I put some pictures in it as well. It decided not to work. This time I'll try to send pics in a separate email. So please don't worry about my welfare. I am fairing quite well.

   Soooo, this past week went pretty dang fast. It has officially started snowing here. The day after Thanksgiving it snowed, then melted. Then this past Wednesday, it "iced" meaning it snowed ice. But finally, the past 2 or 3 days, it started snowing for realz. I love the snow, or zapada, as we call it here. It's really not too cold. The ground sure is slippery though. Bacau is still keeping it real for me. We've been talking to a few peeps that have a baptismal date established on Dec. 18. They are: Mihai, Petronela, Mihaiela, Edi, and Daniel. Right now, none of them are "certain" except like 2. The people and investigators are hugely weefy here (meaning not committed and just blow you off for the most part.) But some really are promising. On Wednesday, Elder Gunter and I had exchanges with the AP's (assistants to President). I worked with Elder Boynton, who is a studly missionary. Elder Gunter worked with Elder Lyon. With Elder Boynton, I got a lot done and was super busy all day, even in the snowiness. They both go home this transfer (same time as Sora Holden and Elder Martineau). (By the way, I HAVE seen Sora Holden 3 times). The AP's gave us a challenge to try to find those (from the area book) who are potential investigators or dropped investigators and get back in touch with them. I enjoy doing this, except for the fact that they're all pretty weefy. English classes are going well too. I enjoy teaching Romanians English. English is so easy. But it also doesn't make much sense if you think about it. This past Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. We fasted specifically for Daniel (who speaks fluent English) to be baptized, because he's been around missionaries for a while but this is the first time he's a progressing investigator. We hold daily chats with him and talk about the Book of Mormon. He is 18 or 19 and he's really cool. I'm also teaching myself how to play piano on our little Yamaha keyboard in our rented out church building while Branch President Gunter does his Branch President stuff in his office. I'm learning where the chords are and I am surprising myself. Oh how I miss guitar...

   As I think about it, Christmas is getting very close. I'm excited to have Christmas here. Mom and dad, I hope you have fun by your lonesomes for Christmas. I haven't gotten that package yet, I figure it's just sitting in the mission office in Buc. Oh yeah, In the centru (center) here Saturday night, we saw a sweet little thang goin' down with people singing christmas songs on a little stage (singing in english but with a romanian accent, which sounds hilarious) and a little crowd of peeps with SCARY Romanian clowns and people dressed up like snowmen and reindeer. It was pretty sweet. I assume that the clowns and snowmen and reindeer dudes were there to entertain little chitlin's (children) but to me, they were just creepers walking around. It felt like Christmas that night!

   Hmm, what else, Oh yeah, Sunday church was cool, because all 10 of us (members and missionaries) bore our testimonies. AND, some random old lady that comes to English classes got up and bore her "testimony" about "oh, I am so thankful for these wonderful handsome young boys who teach me english so well. They are examples to our youth here." blah blah blah. It was kinda funny, because she's not a member yet, She's actually not even an investigator yet, but I guess the Spirit prompted her to get up and speak, even if it wasn't really what we members would call a testimony....Which reminds me, a testimony consists of the things you know to be true. It's NOT a thank-imony, its not a story-imony, its not a love-imony. It's simply a testimony. There's lots of people who like to rant on and on about some story or something, but me, I just like to say what I know to be true and sit back down. So sorry, if I offend anybody, but I feel strongly about how a testimony should be born. Anyways, after church we had a brief snowball fight with the members. Some of them are really like little kids at heart. It's funny. Snow also gives us unlimited ammo in case a rabid street dog wants to attack us. Haha. So far, there have been no such dogs.

   Everything else is going foarte bine, I am getting better at speaking and understanding. In fact, a good amount of fellow missionaries say I'm actually pretty good with the language, but because I'm a humble kind of guy, I submit that I am not. My studies are going well. I'm almost done reading the book, Our Search For Happiness, by Mallard Russell Ballard (I don't know if that's really his first name, but I like to think it is.) It's a good read. I feel like just handing that book out instead of the Book of Mormon, because it's so simple yet eloquent. I recommend y'all to READ IT!

   Okie dokie, I'm done for today, maybe pictures will come, maybe not. I hope everyone is doing well and stuff. I am. I miss you and love y'all. I'll talk later. Bye bye now! Cu dragoste, Elder Lee.

Thankgiving in Bacau!

Buna Ziua! Howdy! How is everyone? How goes good ol' Redlands, CA? I've had a great week (it went by fast too). My new companion, Elder Gunter, is awesome. He's a great trainer. He's also the branch president AND our district leader here in Bacau. Props to him. It's been great here talking to people and teaching our investigators. And of course, Thanksgiving! yay. Let's talk about stuff.
    So this past week, I got to move into a nicer apartment with Elder Gunter. We've been keeping busy and contacting and holding some lessons. We have a few investigtors here: Mihaiela (a 14 year old girl with a baptismal date on Dec. 4), Edi (a late 20's man who has a baptismal date for Dec. 18th) and Alex (an early 20's dude with a baptismal date on Dec. 18th). They're all awesome people and so far, are committed to come to church and prepare to be baptized. Of course, we have lessons to teach them before that day. Aside from that, we have contacted people. Some are un-interested because they claim they were born Orthodox and will die Orthodox, but some are sincere and are interested. I like my district here: Me, Gunter, Elder Bateman, and Elder Gauthier. We get along really well. For Thanksgiving day, we had a district meeting and also cooked up a tasty turkey, Stove top stuffing, and some mashed taters....and it was flipping delicious. I felt like I was home! I am thankful for Stove Top.

   I also had my first Zone Conference. It was awesome. We travelled down to Bucuresti, stayed in a nice hotel for the night, then the next morning it was held in the Panduri chapel. It was our Galati zone with the Buc. West zone and Arad zone. I got to see almost all of my MTC district. We also heard from President Lundberg and his wife, and the area 70 of this area. I forgot his name (Elder Shtari?). I think he was Norwegian or something. We had Dominoes pizza for lunch. We heard some important stuff about the Spirit and about how to be better at planning and goal setting. Then, we were already on a train back to Bacau. I've already been on that train 5 times now! That adds up to like 25 hours!
   The weather here is getting cold. It snowed for like 2 days, but now its just rainy again. I'm pretty sure it will snow for realz in the next few days. It's not too cold yet. I heard Utah is pretty freezing however.

   The branch is doing well. I just had my second church here, and 10 people came (2 of them being investigators.) They are pretty cool people, and I'm still getting to know them more. Bacau is really a good city. I like it here.

    So one cool thing: the one investigator, Alex, was actually contacted by Elder Gunter and Elder Mathis (our Zone leader) and he called Elder Gunter later on and told him that he read the Intro to the Book of Mormon and cried. He cried! He said he felt something he never has felt before while reading it. That's pretty cool I guess. He set  his own baptismal date, and we will teach him more soon. May I say, "miracle!"

    Well, that's about it for now. Keep keeping it real! Ciao for now! -Elder Lee

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I hope my trainer is doing ok?

Well howdy ! How is everyone? I'm doing well like always! I hope you're all doing well and stuff! This past week has been a little unique, I guess, but I have still enjoyed it. Heres what happened in a nutshell:
   Sooo, up till this last Tuesday, me and Elder Martineau have been doing fine and talking to some people and contacting and what not. Then on Tuesday, after studies, he started to feel a pain in his lower right back. It then proceeded to become very painful, and he didn't know what it was. He callled Sora Lundberg to tell her, and it just kept getting worse. He finally thought it must be kidney stones or something. So the rest of that day, he was in a hot bath just in stinging pain and eventually, i took him to some sketchy emergency room in Bacau because we had no other choice. I waited for him and later, he found out that he indeed had kidney stones. They just hadn't passed in a quick manner. He got pills and stuff to help him, but days later, the pain was just still there and constant. So, on Friday, we took a train to Bucuresti and we stayed at the Lundberg's home for the weekend. He got some proper treatment there and more medicine. However, I am now in Bacau, while Elder Martineau is still there till at least Wednesday. The stones still have't passed. I'm back in Bacau with Elder Gunter as my new companion. President Lundberg switched up some companionships in Ploiesti and Pitesti and evened up the numbers so I could come back here and now we have a different elder, Elder Bateman, who is now comps with Elder Gauthier. Time to starts the work again! I've kinda had a few days "off" to help take care of Elder Martineau. Staying at the Lundberg's was very nice though. They made us meals for each day we were there. I thanked them a ton!!! I hope lder Martineau can pass those stones and feel better. If he does, he will serve in a threesome in Pitesti I think until he is done with his mission (He only has 3 more weeks left). So that was my past week! Fun huh!

   So now, I'll try and answer some questions:

   Elder Martineau's first name is Kade (from Tree Monton Utah) He has 3 weeks left. Elder Gunter's first name is Leckie (from South Carolina) he has 8 months left i think, Elder Gauthier's first name is Robert (from Mesa AZ) He entered the MTC the same day as Tyler Lee. I am in the Galati Zone, and it is comprised of Iasi, Bacau, and Galati. There are I think, 10 elders and 4 sisters or something in the zone?? I dont know for sure. We have a zone conference this saturday. Elder Martineau did serve with Elder Davis, who died in January. Elder Fonnesbeck is here and he is in Pitesti. So far, I have oly eaten out at KFC twice, McDonalds once, and I have baught 2 Shaormas. Each day, we get up and do personal study, comp study, language study, go out and contact or teach, come back for lunch, go out and teach or contact, then come back in at 9 at night. then we plan our next day. Repeat. Im in a different apartment with Ekder Gunter, and its pretty nice. I got to go to church at Bucuresti in a bigger newer chapel in the Panduri area. There were about 40 or 50 members there, and it felt more like the church I know! I also saw Elders Mikolyski and Green from my MTC district. We plan to have a little thanksgiving dinner in our next district meeting, or at zone conference, i dont know. For my first P day, we went bowling and looked at shops at a mall here, then had KFC for lunch. That's about all I can think of responding to right now.

    So anyways, that's about all. I'm becoming better acquaintances with the members and investigators here. Its a nice city. Im excited to be with Elder Gunter for the next 3 weeks, until the transfer ends. Its pretty common here that you stay in your first area for the 2nd transfer, so we'll see if I do or not! Elder Martineau was a great trainer, and I may not see him again before he leaves. I am excited to continue working here. I really have nothing else to say because I've kinda been away from the work because of Elder Martineau's problem. I'm still not understanding what people say, but I'm getting there. I just need to speak a lot! Sorry for the lack of interesting stories or spiritual stories or whatever. Next week I'll have some! Stay tuned.

   Well, its good to hear that the family and ward is doing well! I am about done with this email. Keep up the good work everyone! I hope you all do well and I'll talk next week!!! Cu dragoste, Elder Lee.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hello from Romania

Dear Mom and Dad and people:
   Howdy everybody! How are we all? I'm doing just fine. I'm in Romania now! It's pretty cool I guess. Haha, just kidding, it's pretty awesome! So my district and I got to Buc on last Tuesday. We had a safe flight and it it went pretty fast. Stepping foot on Romanian soil was kinda wierd (knowing that I'll be here for a while) but felt sweet. It was a cloudy day. We met the Mission Prez, Pres. and Sora Lundberg. They are super nice! They warmly greeted us and helped us get up and running. Then we met the Van Ormans (Mom, these are those people you know) so I talked to them about how you know them and they remember knowing Grandma. It was really cool! They're super nice. Elder Van Orman took us to the mission office in Buc (sector 1 or 6 I think) and it was a nice office. We got a cool view of the city, got interviewed by Prez, got oriented by the Van Ormans, got physicals and visas taken care of, and met our nases (our godfathers, meaning the older elders that take us out tracting the first night and help us.) mine was Elder Lyon. With him, I got to eat my first Shaorma ( burrito-ey wrap with french fries, chicken, onions, pickles, ketchup, mayonaise, and some delicious garlic sauce) So it was mighty tasty. Then we taught a lesson to some girl, Violeta (romanian) who works in the mission office but is not baptized yet. We watched Legacy and talked about pioneers and the book of mormon. It went well! Then we contacted some dude on the streets and he was interested in our message about God, so we said other Elders would call him and meet with him, as I never saw him again. Me and Elder Durand (in my district) got to sleep the night in the Lundbergs home, while my other elders slept with missionaries in their apartments all over Buc. Their house is so nice, it's like stepping into Utah! The second day, we finished up our Visas, got legalized, and went to Cismigiu Park, where we sang and read the dedicatory prayer for Romania by Elder Nelson. After, we had lunch at the mission home (lasagna and tons of Romanian juices) The juice here tastes like candy, and my favorite is the Peach. It tastes like Peach Rings juice. Yum! Then, we had a little orientation meeting and finally, were sent off to our areas!
    And so now, I am doing this email from some little internet cafe in the city of Bacau, with the 3 other members of my district, Elders Martineau (my trainer), Gunter (the district leader AND branch president), and Gauthier (Gunters comp.). Yep, there's just us 4 in this whole city of 177,000 people. I got to meet them all and they are great elders! Martineau is my trainer and he is pretty cool. He says he still has 5 months left I think, so he's about ready to go home. He's a great teacher and example, and we get along well so far. Our apartment is in some big Commie block, but it's actually quite nice inside compared to the outside. It's near the biggest church in Romania (some giant Orthodox church thats still being constructed) its way cool! Ok, just so you know, every single building here, if its not a church, is a Communist block. It feels like Buc. There are no suburbs or houses. Just tall blocks. Ok, anyways, me and elder martineau compose half of the district. Elders Gunter and Gauthier are the other half. The branch here is ridiculously small. We meet in a rented out vila (house) and there are 7-10 members who come. Yep, thats it. My first sunday here we had 7 come.  Elder Gunter is the Branch President (like the bishop) and he does a great job. That means that I am called on to participate often. My first church (yesterday) I gave a talk on the importance of missionary work, passed the sacrament, and said the closing prayer. It was pretty easy actually. other Elders from my district got sent to Arad, Deva, Buc, Galati, Constanta, Brasov, Alexandria, and Cluj.
   Also, I already got to see a baptism!!! On Friday, a man named Dorin got baptized (I had nothing to do with him as I'm new). At the meeting, I spoke on the Holy Ghost and said the prayer. I probably could have baptised him if I wanted to as he told the other elders he didnt care who did it. But I decided not to haha! I got to participate in it though! I may see another baptism or 2 in the coming weeks too! For this whole year, its been the mission miracle to get 200 baptisms by the end of December. Now, there are 115. We have 85 to go in the next month and a half! We got this! I feel like its my duty to help in that with my boboc fire! (boboc meaning duck, a word for greenie, because I'm still fired up about missionary work just coming out of the MTC). It's a neat opportunity.
    So anyways, Bacau is a cool city. Im getting used to it each day. I dont feel overwhelmed, but I still do feel a bit clueless and helpless haha. That meaning that the people here (the natives) speak so fast and mumble words that I literally dont understand ANYthing! I thought I learned a lot in the MTC, but here, its like a pushed a re-set button. I really dont know what anyone is saying, though some people speak english. yay! So Im ok with that, because I can trust in my Trainer to help me. It just takes time and speaking to get better. SO its ok that I dont understand a single word. ( well, I can pick out parts of sentences!).
    Romanians are awesome though. Me and Elder Martineau have been talking to a family and their daughter, Mihaiela, is close to baptism ( i think she has a date) her brother Daniel is already baptized, and we are also talking to the dad and mom, Mihai and Petronela. The two youngest sons are named Marius and Alin (nick named Coco) They are too young to really be taught. the little one, Coco, is flipping adorable and is so loud and runs all over the place. Its really funny. It's cool to talk with them, even though the past few days, I have been tired out of my mind from jet lag and stuff and also, the words go right over my head. It's kinda funny, I just sit there, fighting sleep, and adding my 2 cents in sometimes. But im a boboc, so its ok. I'll get there!!!
   That's about it for now. I apologize, I forgot to bring my camera to put pictures on this email. But next week I will have it! FYI, my pday is always on Monday. Anyways, Im still adapting every day and am really enjoying it so far! I love you all and cant wait to email you again in a week. Thanks for all your support and prayers! I'll talk to you later. La revedere!!!!     Cu dragoste, Elder Lee.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Romania, here I come!

Bune Ziua everybody! How are we all? I am doing foarte bine as always. Guess what? This is my last email from the MTC. That's right, I got my travel plans!!!! I'm pretty excited about that. I'm about ready to leave and get back to a real world again!
    So before I tell you (mom and dad) the travel plans, I'll tell you a little about how my last week has been. I'm doing well still, and am getting better at Romanian each day. We did our last TRC lesson and last TEC (progressing) lesson. They both went really well. We talked about baptism and stuff. I feel like I can teach pretty well in Romanian, and so can my companion! For the last devotional, we got yet another apostle. It was Elder M Russell Ballard! He gave a talk on becoming a master communicator. I loved it. He spoke on how we can teach so much more confidently if we are good communicators. I can always improve my communication skills! I got to host again with my district. I hosted one elder from Washington going to Tampa, Florida, english speaking. It was fun. Not much else has gone on here though, just learning a few more grammar principles and having some good scripture study. I haven't gotten any mail for like 4 days, so there's not much I can respond to haha! But it's all good. I should let y'all know that on Monday the 8th, I will be flying outta here, so don't keep sending letters to me in the MTC, unless you know it will get here by Saturday! My Romania address should be here on this blog I think.
   Apart from that, everything else is going fine! I'm so excited to LEAVE! So here are my travel plans:
         Nov 8: fly out of Salt Lake City at 8:35 a.m.  and arrive at New York JFK Airport at 3:18 p.m.
         Nov 8: leave New York at 5:40 p.m. (2 hour layover) and arrive at Vienna, Austria at 8:30 a.m. on Nov 9th.
         Nov 9: leave Vienna at 10:35 a.m. (2 hour layover) and arrive in Bucharest, Romania at 1:10 p.m.
   There you go. Mom and Dad, I might be calling you early morning on Mon. Nov, 8, before our flight at 8:35. I hope you'll still be home and not at work. I'm guessing we'll get to the airport at around 6 to 6:30 or something. I dont know. So wake up early in case! I could also call from New York between 3:18 and 5:40 on Monday. I don't know if I can call from Europe, but we'll see. The time difference is like 7-9 hours ahead or something, but you know my schedule, so be ready in case you hear the phone ring. I'll try and give you a call, but if i don't get the chance or if you miss my call, that's OK! We will also be able to call or Skype at Christmas too.
   So I'll need to get all packed these next few days and then we'll wake up at 5 a.m. on Monday morning to get driven outta here forever and go to salt lake airport. It's so exciting to go to Europe for the first time in my life! I feel ready to adapt to Romania. I know it will be overwhelming at first, but I don't care, that's only natural. I'll learn a lot of the language there too. I'm excited to see who my trainer will be and where I'll serve first. My next e-mail (not sure what day it will be) will be from Romania in my new area I'm pretty sure. I just wanna leave this MTC because I'm a little tired of being here, even though it's been great. I'l defs miss my beloved district and companion, and hope to see them again in Romania. I'm also quite happy to eat REAL food (and flipping good food too) in Romania, such as shoarmas and sarmales. Yummy. Anyways, I don't have much else to say and need to get logged off. I love you all and hope you are all doing great. Thanks for your prayers and letters and everything! I miss y'all! Romania, here I come!
La revedere!!!!!   Cu dragoste, Elder Lee!
 P.S: mom and dad, please start emailing me at as I will not get the mail everyday anymore there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm almost out of here!

Hello everybody! How are we all doing? I assume well. I'm doing just fine as always. In 11 days (I think) I'll be flying to Romania! Sweet eh? We haven't got our travel plans yet, but I'm thinking we will this week someday. I'm excited. We should be going first to New York, then to Vienna, Austria, then to Bucharest! I'll be sure to let y'all know when I get those plans.
     Well, apart from the fact that we leave very soon, I've had another great week here in the empty sea (MTC). It actually snowed for the first time here 2 days ago, but of course it didn't stick to the ground yet. It's been a bit chilly, but nothing I can't handle. It'll be cold in Romania when I get thar. Hmm, Halloween is this Sunday! Happy Halloween everybody! Thanks mom and dad for the package of treats and such. I love wasabe almonds! Well, this week, there have been a couple cool things:
     On Tuesday for devotional, we had another Apostle come speak to us! 2 in a row! That's some low odds right there. Guess who it was!.........Yep, you're right, it was Elder Richard G. Scott of the 12. He's such a deep man. And way shorter in person! He talked about being led by the Spirit. He had a bunch of points that different missionaries volunteered to read out loud in the microphones. He also talked about humility, faith, character, and even invoked upon us learning a new language a blessing (with his Apostolic authority)  for the gift of tongues! That was pretty cool. So I don't need to study the language anymore because he gave me that gift! Yay! Numai Smecher! (JK) I'll keep studying. So that was a sweet experience. Let's hope for a 3rd Apostle in a row, shall we? 
     Also, yesterday, our district was called to help volunteer in hosting new arriving missionaries. I knew Devin Rowley was coming in, but never did see him! all the Elders line up by the curb and greet and take care of the new elder, send him to his room, and send him to his class. Me and others got called to help with international missionaries. Me and another Elder in my district, Elder Ransom, ended up helping 3 sister missionaries from Russia, Ireland, and Finland. That was pretty neat. We did have to give up gymtime (fun time) to host, but it was worth it. It's crazy because not long ago, I was one of those noob missionaries getting dumped off and entering a strange new world.
    Hmm, not much else is going on, Elder Fonnesbeck and I are still teaching a progressing investigator. He's still committed to baptism on Nov. 5, and we last talked to him about legea zeciuielli (the law of tithing). He accepted it and is doing well with his other commitments. We're getting better and better at speaking Romanian, even though we're only 1/1000th of being fluent yet! It's fun! Apart from that, it's same ol same ol. Studying, teaching, having a great time with my district, etc.
      I love getting letters from y'all (and packages) so thanks for those! I hope the weather and ward and everything else is doing fine in good ol redlands. Good for Dad, being the 1st counselor now! I bet that'll be fun! Good for BYU in winning another game. I hope Heaps and the team keep improving. I can't wait to hear where Elder Fisher will be going! Be sure to let me know! I guess he'll go to Germany, Berlin! Haha! Keep up the good work Taylor. Good to hear everyone's doing well. Thanks for all your mission advice dad. I'll be sure to do what you say and try to immerse myself in the culture and keep an optimistic attitide. I hope Jamers and Mark and Kenadee are doing well, as well as Chris and Liz. Sorry about last week's email being all bolded. I don't know why it did that! Imi pare rau (I'm sorry). Thanks Andreasens for your letters of support! I miss you guys, and hope zach and Briggs are doing well and having fun!
    That's about it for today. I promise next week's email will be more exciting (it will be my last email from the MTC!) I should have my travel plans by then, so stay tuned. I love y'all and hope you are doing well. Write me and pray for me if you love me aight? Ok, good. Well, I'll talk to y'all next week then. La Revedere!!! Cu Dragoste, Elder Lee.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Six & Going Strong

Well hey y'all! How is everybody? I hope you're all doing just fine and dandy. Thanks everyone for your letters to me this past week. thanks for all your support and what not. as for me, I'm doing foarte bine astazi.
     So I've had a great week here yet again. I can't believe it's been a month and a half! we leave in like 19 days! But I'm super excited to leave this place!! Not much different happened this past week, just the same ol' routine, except there were some neat things.
     First of all, this past week, we've been teaching the lessons all in Romanian still. (We'll never go back to English again) and we've been doing great! The language is so fun and I've really caught on to learning it. With our progressing investigator Steve, we committed him to baptism and he accepted! We set a date on November 5th for him to be baptized, and he's keeping lots of committments for us. (this is all fake, mind you). so that's purty cool I guess. Also, we heard from Brother and Sister Beeson on sunday fireside (he's the executive secretary of the Provo MTC) They were great. He had his kids and kid-in-laws speak about unity in companionships, trusting in the Lord, being diligent, etc. Then, on Tuesday night devotional, we had our first Apostle!!!! Yep, it was Elder Russell M. Nelson of the 12! He talked a lot about how important our missions are for our future, teaching about Christ, keeping in touch with convert friends you make on your mission, and other good stuff. It was a neat experience. All the missionaries here treated the devotional like it was a Muse concert or something! haha. they all rushed in cuz they knew it was an apostle finally. Elder Nelson was recieved like a celebrity haha. What's really cool though, is that he dedicated Romania to be a mission! Also, his grandson is our teacher! So it was a special opportunity to have him as our apostle to speak to us (we probably won't hear from anymore while we're here :( ) We also got a new Romanian district yesterday! There are 10 elders and one sora (sister). We haven't really met them officially yet cuz their schedules are all wierd until their first monday. It's dang crazy how i was just in their position not too long ago, yet it feels like forever ago!
    we'll get our travel plans probably next week sometime! can't wait for that and the plane ride and everything. This last 2 and a half weeks I really need to do my best to get ready for the real deal. Apart from those things, there's really not much else to talk about (I know, i'm always boring, but hey, it's the MTC, nothing really fun or super spiritual really happens here, so imi pare rau--im sorry)
    Well, it was great to hear from some of you. Thanks mommy and daddy for always writing me and tellling me how things are going. I'm so jealous that Cafe Rio is now in Redlands! good for you. That place is excelent. But I had plenty of it when I was at BYU! It's good to hear that Elders Perry, Hagee, and Rowley are doing well in Ukraine and Chile. I need their addresses so I can write them! i also got letters from my best friends Zach and Briggs! I loved those, thanks guys! I heard 2 awesome nuggets of news from them: Congrats Zach for getting accepted to BYU!!! I love you man! You WILL have an infinite amount of fun there, trust me. I'm so happy for you. Also, I heard that Andrew Campbell got his call to Ogden Utah English speaking! congrats Andy! I love you man! That's so cool that you'll be on your mission soon! You'll love it! Good luck (or bafta, in romanian)
   I hope things are going well for everyone! Things are going great for me! I never thought I'd love the MTC, but I do! Thanks to my dang sweet awesome district! We always have a number 1 time! i love them and my teachers. i'm going to be ready to fly to Romania! It's all going so fast! But it's a thrilling ride. Thanks brother for your letter. I am going to finally write you this week, sorry I haven't written you yet. I hope you, Liz, and Bosco are still keeping it real. Jamers and Mark, I hope you guys and Kenadee are doing well! Thanks for your letters. Well, I'm about out of timp (time) so I'mma peace it out. Va iubesc si bafta! write me if you love me. I'll talk to y'all later! La Revedere!! Love, Elder Lee.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Time is Flying!

Buna Ziua everybody! Ce faceti? Fac foarte bine astazi. How are we all doing this beautiful Thursday morning? I hope well. I am doing well like always and am learning and growing like nobody's business here in the empty sea (MTC). So thanks everybody for all the letters this past week. I'll respond to them as fast as I can.
     So yesterday marked week 5! It's going by too fast! I will leave really soon (november 8th or 10th I think). It's super fun to be here! I haven't yet gotten my travel plans, but will obviously notify y'all when I do! I am thinking we'll fly to New York, then to Vienna, Austria, then to Bucharest. Exciting eh?
    This past week was our first week of teaching the lessons solely in  Romaneste (Romanian.) It actually went well! So far, me and my companion have taught the Restoration, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity in Romanian. Friday we will teach the Plan of Salvation in Romanian. The first lesson went well. I actually knew more than I thought I could at this time. It's really a Spiritual experience to testify in Romanian (even if I still can't express myself fully yet!) With our one progressing investigator, Steve, we taught the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. we also committed him to be baptized and he accepted! Yay! Oh, funny story real quick: so we committed him to baptism in Romanian, and I say "will you be baptized?.....Or not?" Then he stopped the lesson for a few seconds and told me never to say "or not", that it's a terrible committment! haha. He said you shouldn't give investogators that option. Be bold and don't say, "or not". I wanted to say, "or are you not ready yet?" but even that's bad to say. But, I don't care, it was in Romanian and I will not do that again! But, yeah, I'm really diggin' Romanian lessons because of how much of a growing experience they provide. I feel closer and closer to being ready to teach real Romanians pretty soon!
   So this past week, we heard from our teachers that 6 missionaries got sent home early from Romania! Yikes. It's because of disobedience. We have been told recently that Romania has a culture of disobedient missionaries here and there. Our one teacher taught 5 of those 6 and feels so bad that they were sent home early (some only had a month left!!!) Ouch. So we've been lectured to on and on about the importance of obedience and the blessings that come from it. I am NOT going to be sent home for disobedience. (because that would just suck).
    Apart from that, I've had a great week, today I did initiatories in the Temple for P-day. I recently bought a Romania mission t-shirt. Pretty cool. I've also learned the language so much more due to teaching (speaking in Romanian). I enjoyed a sunday fireside by Richard Heaton (administrative director for the Provo MTC) He spoke of how central Christ's atonement is in our lessons. We also heard (on tuesday night devotional) from Bishop Richard Edgley (1st counselor of the Presiding Bishopric) so that was cool. He spoke of 6 principles of success for missionaries. One of the things he said was just to remember who you are (that's for you dad!) I really liked his message. We've also heard great lessons from speakers at Large Group Meetings too.
    So my BYU besties Elder Perry and Elder Hagee both left on Tuesday for Ukraine! I said bye to them and wished them well. I'm pretty sure they are excited, especially to have gotten out of the MTC (they had to be here for 12 weeks! yuck) I also today saw Elder Brandon Kinser. He's here for 3 weeks and will be going to Orlando Florida. It was great to see him!
    My companion and district are doing so great, learning and growing together. Of course I love my teachers too. They are amazing examples.
   Thanks dad, for your mission stories. I love reading them. Thanks mom, for your news back home and letters. I'll write you two today! Happy Birthday Big Brother Christopher! how does it feel to be 27 already? man, you're old. hope you and Liz keep doing well in school and work. keep enjoying Bosco. Thanks Jamers for your letter. I miss ya'll and Kenadee especially. I hope she is doing well and you and Mark are doing well. Send me pictures of her in her halloween costume or something! I'd love to see her cuteness. Congrats to Andrew Campbell and Taylor Fisher for getting ever so closer to serving. You guys will love it!!! Keep it up. Good job to BYU football for NOT losing!!! yay! Hope they keep it up.
    I am so excited to be serving in Romania and wonder where I will serve first. I understand that I need to submit to the Lord's will and be patient. well, I'm out of time for today, but thanks so much for all your support. I'll write back to y'all who wrote me. write me if you love me! I miss y'all but am having fun enough to feel happy here! I'll see y'all later. La Revedere!!! Love, Elder Lee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Month In, One to Go

  Hey everybody! How are we all doing this fine week? I hope you all are doing foarte bine. I myself am doing foarte excelent. It's already been an entire month! It's going by so fast now. It's still so exciting! I have just one more month before I hit the big time- Romania! I'm so flipping excited to fly there and live there and testify of the Gospel there! You all should be feeling so jealous of me right about now. Let me tell you how this week has been for me eh?
    So of course I got to see General Conference this last weekend. Twas awesome. I took about 20 pages of notes and loved every single talk. It's really a unique experience to watch general conference as a missionary. You really take to heart each talk and try to remember to apply it into your missionary life. I especially liked Pres. Uchtdorf's talks on pride and simplifying our lives, as well as all the talks on faith and the Holy Ghost (Elder Scott, Elder Bednar, etc.) We also had a firesdie Sunday night by a member of the MTC persidency- Pres. Breinholt. It was all about hymns! We sang about 20 hymns, and I loved it. I really appreciate hymns so much more now being here. On Tuesday night devotional, we heard from an Emeritus Quorum of the 70, Elder Meuenshwander (really counfusing last name, but I think I spelled it right haha) He spoke of 7 things we as missionaries can use to have better success. One thing I really liked from his message was that we need to realize that it is ourselves and our attitudes that make or break our missions. So be happy and embrace challenges eh? I'm getting so much better at all the things we do here: learning Romanian, teaching progressing investigators, and such. I just recently memorized Joseph Smith's account of his 1st Vision in Romanian! Pretty cool stuff I think. The language is so cool and I love how I am in the only district that's going to Romania (just the 12 of us!) There are like 2000 Spanish speaking missionaries here and I get sick of hearing Spanish all around me haha! I realize how easy that language actually is now, seeing other Elders have some hard times with it (thanks to 4 years of it in High School). Knowing Spanish REALLY helps me in learning Romanian.
We recently taught a progressing investigator lesson 3 (the Gospel) and it went dang good! I felt the Spirit like nobody's business and really connected with the investigator. I can tell already that I'm becoming a better teacher each day here. You need to really testify WHY the Gospel is important to YOU or else the investigator will not care about what you're saying, even if you do a perfect job in teaching him the principles! Let that be my word of advice for the day to all you preemy missionaries who read this.  One more thing, next week will be the first time we have to teach all the lessons in pure Romanian! Yikes. I look forward to it though, it should be a great and fun learning experience!
   Thanks mom for all the DearElders and letters! So in answering your questions real quick:
   I loved conference, but the camera never did show my companion up close, but he was there in the MTC choir in priesthood session. He loved it. I am glad for Zach, Taylor, Andrew, and every one else who are doing their best to become better missionaries. It's good to hear the family is doing bine! Man, I miss little Kendaee. That's adorable that she is learning to crawl. Say hi to her for me (oh and feel free to mail me pictures of her!) Good job Aunt Kim and Uncle Tom! Keep up the running! I don't know how you guys do it, but keep it up! I hope Chris and Liz are doing well in school and work. I wish Liz luck in her tests! Happy B-day to Tia Lee! 10 years old already, wow! Tell Grandma hi back! It's good to know she is doing well. Good job to everyone, EXCEPT BYU football. I heard they got killled by Utah State....really? That's shameful. I hope they improve. I'm glad I'm not enrolled there right now and wasting my money on an All-Sport pass hahah! To my friends at BYU (Matt, Kaitlyn, Lauren...) keep enjoying it. It's so much fun. Pray that BYU football will do better! ha. Dear Jamie, I am getting SO excited to go to Romania real soon! Thanks for the letter, and keep doing well.
  Multumesc everybody (thank you) for supporting me and praying for me. May I ask, keep doing those things. I appreciate it. Also, thanks so much to everybody who writes me!!! I love mail like nobody's business and desire all who truly love me to write me. I promise I'll write back when I have the time. Well, my time is about gone, so I'll talk to ya'll later. Just know that I love it here and am happy!!! I lurve you all!!!! LA REVEDERE!!!   Love, Elder Lee.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three weeks in and loving it!

Buna Ziua everybody? Ce mai faceti? Eu fac foarte bine.
    How are you all? I hope everyone is doing well.  I am doing very well. Well it's been 3 weeks since I entered this here MTC and so far, I have loved it. My district and companion are flippin' awesome and we are best friends already. So if I have forgotten to tell y'all, all 12 of us are heading to Romania in 6 weeks from now. 3 of us are from California, one is from Hawaii, 3 are from Utah, one is from Missouri, one is from Montana, and 3 are from Texas (I try not to mess with them...get it? Don't mess with Texas?...ok that was stupid.) But anyways, they're all great!
     My time here feels like it goes so fast now, it's crazy.  Today is P-day, so I went to the Provo Temple again and that was great.  In the past week, I've gotten letters from cousin Tyler in Denmark, roommate Jordan in Scotland, Matt Startup, Michael Stevens, aunt Kim, and a sweet package from the Andreasens. Thank you all so much for writing me! I love getting letters and packages. Oh, so Elder Rowley is now in Chile! We said goodbye, and I know he will rock down there in Chile! Also, Elder Zach Andreasen entered just yesterday! I've already seen him. It's so good to have him here and to see him around. I know he'll be such a great missionary. Oh yeah, guess what....he is living literally 10 steps away from my room! That's right, he moved in 3 rooms down from me in my dorm hall! So we'll be seeing each other a lot for the next 6 weeks I'm here! I also got to see BYU friend Josh Haws come in yesterday, he's going to Honduras San Pedro Sula. It's great to hear that Andrew Campbell and Taylor Fisher are doing the right things and preparing for their missions. I guarantee them that what they are doing is the most important thing that they can be doing now, and that they will love their missions.
    It's great to hear that you (mom and dad) are doing well. I love hearing from you.
   So, Romanain is going great for me! I really love learning it with my district and my teachers make it so fun! Just to clarify, Romanian is a latin language (actually the most pure of all latin languages) So it's a lot like the dead Latin language, but also resembles Spanish mixed with Italian and then throw in a little Russian/Slavic influence. I love it, and I love how the 12 of us are the only speakers of it in the MTC right now! (at least until the new district will come in like 3 weeks) Thanks dad, for your experience in England regarding learning how to communicate well with the people in your mission.
     So last Sunday, it was fast. We then had a missionary conference, which was a lot like stake conference back home. We heard from all the prsidency of the MTC. Great talks. Then for the fireside that night, we heard from Stephen Allen (the managing director for the Mission Department in the Church).  His talk was very entertaining and he gave us advice on how to be a great missionary. On Tuesday night devotional, I was hoping for an Apostle, but instead we had the privilege of hearing from Elder L. Whitney Clayton (from the Presidency of the 70) and his wife. He spoke on how this church will never stop growing (look up Daniel 2:44-45) and how we as missionaries are part of it.  I loved it. I love hearing from authorities in the church.
    So did I tell y'all that my companion, Elder Fonnesbeck, will be singing in the Priesthood choir for Priesthood session of conference? Well, now I did. I think that's awesome and he likes being in the choir (he was in a choir group at BYU) So I'll look for him when I watch! Which reminds me, I'm super excited for General Conference here! I know that I will pay extra attention and take good notes as a missionary. I look forward to this weekend cuz of conference!  As far as teaching goes, me and my companion are improving every day! I am starting to love teaching because now, I feel so comfortable and do my best to testify of the truth to meet the needs of the investigator. I love gaining that experience. I also love gaining Romanian conversational experience, it's tougher than the English lessons, but I am doing my best. After this next week, we will have to teach the lessons all in Romanian! So that'll be interesting! Haha. I look forward to it. I need to be patient in learning Romanian.
    So anyways, my time is running short, so I hope I said enough today and will keep thinking of fun or spiritual stories to tell y'all in later emails. It's tough to think of everything I wanna say in 30 minutes! Well, I love you all and I appreciate your support. I hope you keep doing well and always feel free to write me!! I promise I'll write back!!! Va Iubesc! (I love y'all!) I'll talk to y'all later! La revedere!!!!!  Love, Elder Lee.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Down - Seven to Go!

Howdy Y'all! Uh, I mean, Buna Ziua! Ce faci? Eu fac foarte bine!
     So that thar's a little Romanian for y'all. It basically means hi, how are you, I am very well. So anyways, how are you all? Doing well everybody? I am. I hope all of you family and friends are doing swell. I really appreciate those of you who write me and encourage those who haven't to do so. Mail time is one of the day's highlights here. When you're in the MTC for 9 weeks, you really appreciate letters a lot more it seems...imagine that.
     So yeah, I still am loving it here. I'm basically adjusted to the schedule and what not. I love my district so bad. They are so awesome and we have so much fun learning Romanian and Gospel stuff. Oh yeah, and we also feel the Spirit every single day. That is something special I think. I really am becoming a better teacher here too.  We have what is called the TRC (teaching resource center) and the TEC (teaching experience center, i think) which are basically opportunities to teach mock investigators. The TRC focuses on getting to know somebody (while only speaking Romanian) and then teaching that same person a lesson out of Preach My Gospel (in English for the first 4 weeks, then Romanian for the last 4 weeks). There is a given scenario and background for each person and it changes every week. It's great as it gives my companion and I much needed experience. The TEC is a place where we also teach a mock investigator, but it is the same person every week and he or she either progresses or digresses based on our preparation and teaching experience.  So far, my comp. and I have done the first 2 lessons with "Steve" at the TEC.  He seems to be interested and is keeping some of the commitments we extend to him. It's pretty cool.  It's like the real deal, as it's always the same person that we go back and follow up on and teach.
    Apart from teaching, the learning and growing is going well for me. I can bear my testimony and pray all in Romanian, and we have learned past tense, present tense, future tense, using direct objects, lots of vocabulary, etc. It's really fun. We get force-fed lots of new langauge concepts, but I think we need that cuz we're only here for 2 months. We  have large group meetings once a week where we hear somebody give a lesson and take notes. Every Sunday there is a fireside and every Tuesday night there is a devotional. So far, I've heard Gordon Brown last Sunday fireside(who is a district pres. here) and Elder Paul Johnson last Tuesday devotional (member of the quorum of the seventy).  Both were awesome talks. They both spoke about our potential as missionaries as well as gaining spiritual knowledge. They were so packed, but worth it!
    Gospelly, spiritual stuff aside, it's so much fun here. We always do stuff during gym as a district (such as 4 square, which is actually really fun for some reason), sit together during meals, and go to the temple in the morning every P-day, which was today! I love the Provo temple. I've been there twice now for endowment sessions and it's a good place to be. We also do temple walks every Sunday afternoon and I had the awesome opporunity to take pictures with Elders Truman Rowley, Keith Perry, Billy Hagee, and Austin Jones--best BYU friends! Elder Rowley leaves this Monday for Chile! It's been great seeing him and the rest of my friends here. I'm also excited to see Elder Zach Andreasen come in here next Wednesday. I hope to see him around. He'll like it here.
     Lets see, that just about does it for today. I can't think of any funny anecdotes or experiences quite yet, but I'll be thinking. My time is running out on the computer here, so I guess I'll type out my testimony in Romanian for y'all. Here goes: Eu stiu cu Demnezeu este tatal nostru ceresc, si cu noi suntem copii lui, si cu Isus Hristos este Salvatorul nostru, si cu familile este eterna, si cu Evanghelia binecuventeaza familii, si cu Joseph Smith a fost un prfet adevarat, in numele lui Isus Hristos, amin.  Tah dah!!! Well, I gotta go now. So ya'll keep doing well and write me Please! I hope you are all doing well and I'll talk to ya'll later! La revedere!!! Love, Elder Lee.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 16, 2010 - I'm Finally Here!

Howdy family and friends! How are all of you today? I hope you're all doing fine. I am. So it's been a whole week here at the MTC now! So far, I like it a lot! It's a very different environment, but it's full of awesome missionaries, teachers, and of course the Spirit. I don't have much time to e-mail right now, so I'll be quick.
      So, after I was dropped off very quickly by the curb, I officially began to be immersed in the MTC experience. I checked in, got my nametag, and eventually went to my classroom to meet my district and companion. My district consists of 12 of us elders and we're all going to Romania. There are only us and 3 others in another district in the whole MTC going to Romania! Cool huh. Anyways, I also met my language and gospel teachers Brother Miles and Irion. They are so cool and help us so much because they served in Romania. I figured out quick that everyday here is so busy. We spend so much time in class learning Romanian and Preach My Gospel principles. After a week in, I can already pray and bear my testimony in Romanian! That's how much and how fast you learn a language here in the MTC. It's so amazing.
      My companion's name is Elder Fonnesbeck and he is from Oakland, California. He went to BYU for his freshman year like I did. He's a great guy. He and I, as well as my district, really get along well and love being here. It is a challenging place to be, but It's so good.  I need it to be ready to serve in Romania. So everyday besides Thursday and Sunday consist of breakfast, class, lunch, class, gym time, class, dinner, more class, and different types of study times: personal, companionship, and MDT (Missionary Directed Time) So yeah, lots of class. Thursday is my P-day, which consists of going to the temple, prep and study time, and laundry time, as well as a few hours of class. It's so much fun.  Sundays are also a change of pace, with Sacrament meetings, priesthood meeting, a district meeting, and a fireside.  Tuesdays are devotional days, so I'm looking forward to hearing from apostles! This last Tuesday, I heard from Brother and Sister Richards, who used to be the mission president for the England, Manchester mission I think. It was a great message about discovering our purpose as missionaries.
    I've seen some friendly faces that I know here, including Elders: Rowley, Perry, Hagee, Jones, and other friends from BYU I met. It's great to see them around sometimes. Meals are ok here. I try not to eat too much. Gym time is fun time. It's always fun to go outside and run or talk with my district about things. I've felt the Spirit so strongly here, because everything I do here, I devote to the Lord. It's kinda a tough adjustment at first, but I'm adjusted and so far, I enjoy it here!  I've really learned what it really means to invite the Spirit every single day and to put my mind into something meaningful.  I've learned Romanian quite well so far, and it's really fun to learn. We also, as a district, have begun teaching lessons out of Preach My Gospel (lesson 1) to "investigators" who are actually just volunteers. It's still a good experience though, as it helps my testimony grow even more and gives me excellent teaching experience and gives me a chance to really connect to how they feel. That's the important thing about teaching: not just reciting a lesson, but putting yourself in their shoes and adjusting your lesson to their needs.  I love it here.
    Well, my time is out, so I gotta go. Thanks so much for all your support and letters. Keep those letters coming! I appreciate them. I'll talk to y'all later! La revedere (goodbye)!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Before MTC

We had the opportunity to take pictures of Scott just outside the MTC the Sunday before he goes in. It was a beautiful day and Elder Lee looks ready and excited to get started!