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.