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

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!