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

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Casino in Constanta

Cold in Constanta!

   What's up everybody? Ce mai faceti? Bine? Eu sper! Anyways, how is everybody? I bet you're all doing fine. It's good to hear from family and friends. I am doing well like always, just still in a dry spot right now in Constanta trying to find more people. Let me recount the week...

    So, this past week was pretty cool, and it went fast! Elder Johnsen and I have been doing the same ol' same ol'. Blocs, streets, etc. The bummer part is that it just recently got freezing cold here. The past few days have been icy, a little snowy, and windy. The wind here is very very chilly. It has prevented us from doing much street contacting, but we have been doing plenty of blocs. The other bummer thing is that we only got 1 lesson this last week. BUT, it was a very cool lesson. We talked to a guy and lady (David and Saurelle) here for school. They are from Cameroon, Africa, and are here studying medicine in one of the schools here. They speak French and English. We had a very good lesson and discussion about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, and faith. We plan on returning soon to give them an English BOM. The lady said she already recieved one from missionaries in England a while ago! It's a small world-- especially for LDS people. It was a cool lesson. Apart from that, we got a referral from a Jordanian guy me and Elder Frandsen met on our exchange. The referral is for his brother, who is going to school here. We hope to be able to meet with him soon! (His brother is back in Bucharest and the ZL's are teaching him. They say he is a golden investigator!) Apart from that, we have found no success for the moment, but will keep going. We hope to find one or 2 new investigators this week and extend one baptismal date to somebody.

   Also, we were told by the office elders recently that we need to move into a new apartment! Our current apartment is too small for mission standards and doesn't have room for 2 study desks. The contract ends on March 4 or 5th too. So, we have been looking and getting help from branch president Alin in finding. We need one that's a bit bigger with desk space. We looked at one that we really liked, but will look at more. We need to actually move this week though. Fun stuff. I think our current apartment is alright, but it is kinda too small. Also, it's kinda expensive. It costs 400 euro a month! We need a new one with that costs that much or less. So we will do that this week! Wish us luck!

   Elder Johnsen and I are getting along pretty well now. He still needs a bit of help getting up on time each morning, but apart from that, we're doing well. We have our week set out ahead of us in moving, and continuing to find people. We hope to find promising people that will progress! I also hope that the weather will get a bit warmer. There are only 2 more weeks of the transfer, so we need to keep working hard eh? The language is going pretty well for me. I'm learning more each day. In my studies of the scriptures, I'm on 1 Corinthians. It's some good stuff. Paul was a pretty good missionary.

   We made a couple of member visits this week. We visited the Nitica's and a guy named Tibi. We gave the Sacrament to brother Nitica, who is sick and bed-ridden. Then, we talked with Tib about Preach My Gospel. He's way cool. He's in his 30's. He's single too. He is super funny and fun to talk to. On Saturday, we actually went to a play he AND our branch president, Alin, were both in. I forgot what it was called, but it was way cool! Tibi is the main guy who wishes to become rich and a cool genie guy grants him the wish, then he gets greedy and gives his heart to the genie in turn for a stone heart. He kills his wife and then realizes what he's done. He finally pleads to get his heart back, then does, and then he's all happy again. The end. Alin played a small role as a guy playing music. Of course it was all in Romanian! I understood a good amount of it! Elder Lainhart, Biggs, me, Alin, and Tibi also practiced to do a musical number in church (Be Still Me Soul- Fii Linistit Sufletul Meu). I sang solo for the first 2 lines too! Then we all eventually came in and it sounded awesome in our rehearsals. The problem is that we didn't get the time to do it in Sacrament meeting! One of the members talked for too long and we ran out of time! Bummerz. Oh well, maybe next time. Later that day, we did a branch activity. We streetboarded in Centru and talked to people! Only us missionaries, the branch presidency, and Bro. Beere even came though, but it was fun! I contacted with Alin and we sang some hymns too! Finally, Elder Johnsen and I contacted over to the Cazino on Sunday after church! It's the building here by the beach that's in all the postcards and stuff. It was cool and we got pictures. It was freezing cold and windy though.

   Anyways, that's about all that happened this week. I emailed some of my BYU roommies on missions (Shumway and Derek) and I heard a little back from them! It's been so long since I talked to them. I also heard from Matt, Zach, and Elder Fisher. Everyone seems to be doing well! It's awesome that the guys in the ward who want to go to BYU got accepted! Congrats. It's also cool that BYU basketball is doing excellent this season. I heard that Deron Williams got traded to the Nets! Bummer. Matt said he was going to a Jazz-Celtics game soon. Fun! Thanks mom for sending me socks! I still never got that package you said had cards from your students. But I should be getting both of the packages on transfer day (if I go to Bucharest). I hope work and church and everything goes well for you Mom and Dad. That's way cool that Jeffrey R. Holland is coming to the Stake Center. That's dumb that Redlands stake got kicked out to go to Highland though. Have fun going to church at 1 and not hearing an apostle! haha. So Zach will live with Briggs next semester at BYU. That should be very fun for them. Sometimes, I get sad I don't get to be there, then I remember that I am here in Romania for 2 years serving the Lord and making best friends. I'm better off I think!

   Well, I better wrap up. I wish you all a happy first week of March. It's already March?? Wow. Well, I look forward to having a fun new week. Thanks for the support and mail and stuff. Love y'all. We'll talk later. La Revedere!!!   Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Constanta - City By The Black Sea

Constanta is Great!

Greetings from Constanta again! How is everybody? I hope well. I am doing well like always. This past week went way fast, and as I think about it, my mission is going way fast! I will reach my 6 month mark in just 2 weeks! The end of this transfer is only in 3 more weeks! Crazy. Well, I'll try and remember what happened this last week.
   So the work here is slow. We have just about no investigators, except one. Her name is Aurelia, but I've never even met her yet. Basically, all we've done is hit the streets an blocs, trying to find new people. We make goals to get a certain amount of people talked to each day, to get their numbers, and to get lessons at the blocs. It's gong slow, but we're doing alright. We now have 11 potentials to try and set up with. Also, we've been trying to talk with people that come to English classes. There are a few girls that are interested in always staying for our spiritual thoughts afterwards. (Mom, you can accept those 2 friend requests, they're just english students I've met). Apart from that, nothing special has happened here.
   We did however, have good exchanges with the Bucharest East Zone Leaders. I went to Buc with Elder Frandsen. Those 2 days were way fun. We stayed in their nice apartment in Mihai Bravu (the east side of the city), did some street contacting, talked with a guy named Cezar at the chapel there, waited for a baptismal interview (the person never showed up), went bloc knocking and got a lesson out of it, and talked to a recent convert in a very humble little house-shed. We committed them to come to church. The next day, we did more streets, did a lot of bloc knocking and got 2 lessons out of it (one was with a sweet old lady and one was with a man who proclaimed he was Atheist, but liked to talk about God and was really nice...?). Then we had the most delicious shaormas I've had here so far. It tasted like In-n-Out mixed with Panda Express or something!!! Then, we had to get ready to leave back to Constanta where they spent the night and left in the next morning. They really helped us out with the work here. I loved serving for a few days in Bucharest. I would like to serve there soon.
  I have been working alright with Elder Johnsen. We've found some success together. Despite our differences, I've been getting used to him and Constanta. We are fun as a district. The weather here has been kinda cold and cloudy, but no snow has come. Today, we went to a store called Metro for groceries. It was fun because it's just like a Costco from home! We even had some free samples! I also bought a tie there for only 4 lei.
   We've been having fun english classes as well as church meetings. I like this branch. It's pretty cool. Only about 16 or 17 people come on average. They are strong members though. English classes are supposed to end soon, which is a bummer because we can find people from the classes to become our investigators. When they end, we spend a few weeks advertising again for the next sessions.
  I haven't really seen any cool places around here in the city yet, but a few days ago, Elder Johnsen and I decided to go street contacting a little north, which is a place called Mamaia. We quickly learned that it was a little dumb, because Mamaia is a beach tourist town. When we got there, it was a ghost town. Nothing was happening except for construction workers renovating buildings for the summer. We did talk to a few people though. It was cool to see a bit of Mamaia. We also had some good old Romanian food made for us. After English class on Saturday, a member named Mihaiela made us mamaliga and put goat cheese all over the top of it. We put some smantana (sour cream) on it and dug in! It was alright, just a little too salty. I don't like goat cheese that much!
  Hmm, apart from those things, nothing else has really happened this week.  President Lundberg announced the next mission president. He is Ned Hill. He works at BYU in finance or something. That will be very exciting and very different to be under him in a few months. Elder Johnsen felt a little sick the past 2 nights, but he's fine now. Now I feel like I'm getting a cold or allergies or something. Oh well. This past week just went too fast! I hope we find more success this week and I will have more to talk about next time.
   It's good to hear from home. Mom and dad, good job on killing that rat. Congrats to Collete getting engaged! Also, congrats to Sheree! Some fun things are happening! I saw Chris's article on that website. It's very good, but kinda boring haha. It's good that he continues with his writing antics. I also want to wish Kenadee an early Happy 1st Birthday!!! It's already been a year since she was born? Wow. I hope she has a fun birthday! I heard from the other Elder Lee. He's liking his area more and is doing well. He already only has 9 months left of his mission! I also heard from Elder Fisher. He is doing well and told me how his first church was. He said 100 or so people came and 7 investigators came! Good job! It's good that everyone (family and friends) are doing well. I pray for y'all every day!
   Well, that's about it for this email. Sorry it was boring. I have some pics though. Enjoy. I miss you and love you all. I shall write again in another week. Love y'all! La revedere!!! Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day from Constanta

Hey everyone! How are y'all? It's time for another email already. This past week has gone fast! I'm doing well and am liking Constanta more. I have a fun district too. I'll try and remember what happened this past week.

   So, my first p-day here was fun. We went to Internet, then went bowling for a while. Later, we had some lunch as a district over at the other elders' villa. On Tuesday we had district meeting. Later that day, we had a fun english class. Elder Lainhart is such a fun guy and does well teaching and making the class fun. We all combine in one room with about 15 people or more. On Wednesday, we talked to Anca, a recent convert. She's a strong member and so is her mom, Mihaela. We've been reviewing with her the lessons over again. It's good practice for me with the language, however, she knows some english. On Thursday and Friday, we had Zone Conference in Bucharest. We took a bus over to Buc on Thursday for Zone Training. We held it in the Mihai Bravu chapel (the first chapel built here) which is in the Bucharest East Zone (my zone). There, we talked about how to be better missionaries and how to better teach. We did simulations and heard from President, his AP's, and the Zone Leaders, Elders Frandsen and Johnson. We had Dominoes pizza for lunch! That went until 9 p.m or so, then Elder Johnsen and I stayed the night at the AP's apartment. The office elders also live there. It was fun to get to sleepover there. It was a pretty nice apartment. Also, that day was my comp, Elder Johnsen's 1 year mark. His MTC companion, Elder Olson (an office elder) and he were both together there so they could burn a shirt! (missionary culture is to burn a tie at the 6 month mark, a shirt at the year mark, pants at the 18 month mark, and a whole suit at the 2 year mark.) That was fun for them. The next day, we headed back to the chapel for Zone Conference. We had a good time there too. I was chosen among 3 other missionaries to give a 10 minute talk on a subject provided earlier- agency. So I did. It went well. We had some good burritoes for lunch. It was the first time I've had some good Mexican food in a while! Soon, enough, we were back on the bus to Constanta. I had a lot of fun.

   I had a fun Sunday. I liked church a lot. The branch here is way cool. I have just about met everybody in the branch. There are some cool youth and some cool older people. Of course, the Branch President, Alin, is awesome. He went to the Manchester, England mission (for you dad). He's actually an actor or something, I think. Elder Biggs and Johnsen told me he was in Anaconda 3, as a doctor or something. I think he gets eaten by the snake. Ha. I bet that movie's pretty dumb though. But an interesting tidbit anyways. I also met an American lady here who is in the branch. Her name is Stephanie. She's here as a teacher in a high school as part of the Peace Corps or something. She grew up in Riverside, CA. She served a misison in Pennsylvania. I don't know much else about her, other than she's pretty cool and we're helping her learn more Romanian. She's been living here for the past 6 months. This is a unique branch! I like it.

   This past week, we haven't talked to many people or had many lessons. We need to find a lot more people! The city is kinda dry right now. The other Elders haven't had many lessons either. We need to pick up the work here. I got to go block knocking and street contacting for the first time here. It went well. I don't like not having many investigators. We could also get help with members too in helping our existing investigators to progress. Hopefully, we'll stay diligent and get more lessons and find new investigators this new week. Elder Johnsen is a good guy. We're getting along better now and finding more commonalities. He's the district leader here and it's his 2nd transfer here now. We'll hopefully get even more along and work well in finding the people we need to find. I also love Elder Lainhart and Elder Biggs. They're super fun. It's a lot of fun to get together as a district and do things. There's already only 4 more weeks of this transfer! I hit my 6 month mark in 3 weeks!

   Constanta is huge and doesn't make much sense to me still, but I'm liking it more. It's been nice and sunny weather here for the past week but today it's been colder and cloudy. It's always windy here too. But it's never been as cold as Bacau! That's nice. I wonder if I'll stay here for a 2nd transfer. Odds are I will. I'm enjoying it each day. I'm doing well with the language each new day. Elder Johnsen is pretty good at it. I'm thankful to have his help.

   On Wednesday and Thursday this week, I get to go back to Bucharest for zone leader exchanges. I am going to Buc with Elder Frandsen for 2 days, and Elder Johnson is staying here with Elder Johnsen. Should be cool. I can get to meet them even more by then. Hmm, what else? That's really about it for this last week. Today is Valentine's Day! Have a good one y'all. Also, Happy Birthday mom!!! I hope you had a fun and relaxing day! I was thinking of you and hoping you were enjoying your birthday. I haven't yet gotten your other small package, but I'll expect getting it soon! I also got that letter from Matt on transfer day. A few days ago, I got a letter from another friend- Emily Lawrence!! It was great to hear from her! I love mail! I heard from Elder Fisher too! He's in his new area, Sulphur Springs, TX. He says he enjoys it! He told me he has 5 baptismal dates already! It's good to hear from him! I know he's liking his mission so far, out in the field now! I haven't heard from anyone else recently.

   Anyways, that's about it for me. Thanks for your emails and support. Thanks for your missionary stories of encouragement dad! I hope you and mom are doing well. I also hope the family is doing well too! That's exciting that Liz's sister is getting married! Congrats. It's also exciting that Kenadee turns 1 year old in less than 2 weeks already! Wow. I miss her. I wanna see more pics of her soon, as well as more pics of the rest of the family! Mom and dad, start taking pictures of places and yourselves so I can see you guys! I love seeing pictures of the family. I am happy everyone is doing well. Keep it that way! Tell me about any more exciting news. I guess I'll sign off for now. Talk to y'all next week! Va iubesc! La revedere! LOVE, Elder Lee.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Comfortable in Constanta

Hey folks! How are we all doing? I hope well. It feels like it's been forever since I last emailed. It's been a long week. Transfer day went well and I've been safely in Constanta. I am happy to be here! I'll try and tell y'all about how my week was.
   So during transfer day, I got to see a lot of fun missionaries and old buddies. We got our visas. The problem with that is that our visas supposedly expire in a year, NOT 2 years! Ha. So, I guess we'll have to do something about that some day. I had fun in Bucharest and eventually, said bye to people. I met Elder Lainhart and we took a bus to Constanta, taking 3 hours. There, we met Elder Johnsen and Biggs. Elder Johnsen is my new companion. He is from Salt Lake City. He went to University of Utah before his mission (sorry dad). He loves cars, yogurt, and quesadillas. He actually started his mission in Provo for 2 transfers because he broke his thumb in the MTC. Then , when he got here, he started in Brasov, but got some mysterious body infection and had to go to Germany. He spent 2 weeks or so there getting better and serving a bit. Then, he came back, and has since only been in Brasov and Oradea before coming here. He is a good guy. I also like Elder Biggs and Lainhart. They're from Sandy and Colorado. Elder Biggs is a transfer below me and Elder Lainhart is in his last transfer.

  Constanta is so big. It's sooo different from Bacau. You need to take buses all over. I bought an abonament, which is like a month bus pass. I've almost been here for a week, but I'm still getting used to it. We live in a small, nice bloc about 1 minute away from the beach! It's way unique. The other elders live on top of the church. It's a 3 story villa. They live on the 3rd floor. I met the branch yesterday, They're cool people. About 15-20 people come. There's a Branch President here! Wierd.  His name is Alin Constantinescu. He is young, just had a baby, and knows English perfectly. There is also an older couple from England living here and in the branch! They're named the Beere's. Cool. I had a good first Sunday at church. It lasted 3 hours too! It's just so different here. To be honest, I had a rough first couple of days here. I didn't realize how hard it is to get transferred. I was so comfortable with Elder Gunter in Bacau. I miss him! He taught me a lot, but now I have to adapt to so much. It's overwhelming. But I am getting to know the people and places more each day. My language is getting better. I need to adapt to Elder Johnsen now. I hope to soon be able to have a lot of fun and get comfortable.

  Not much else has happened apart from the adapting process. We had 3 lessons so far here with some cool people. We will pick up the work more starting this next week. I know that in time, I will grow to like it here. It's just so different.

  Thanks for the news back home mom and dad! I got your package mom! It's got some yummy cookies. Thanks for all that info about Constanta dad! Now I know a lot about it and it's history! It's good to hear everything is going well. Thank for the pics of Kenadee! She's so cute! Getting big of course too. I don't know a Sora Beesinger. According to transfer boards, she's not in this mission! Weird. BYU basketball is doing excellent. Keep it up! I heard from Zach. He's loving it at BYU! He's done lots of fun stuff already. I look forward to more packages. Also, socks if possible. Haha. Otherwise, I'm getting by just fine.

   It's my 5th month day tommorow. In another month, my 6th! That's crazy! I look forward to it. I can't think of anything much else to talk about now. My mind and body are just going through a huge adjustment phase. I'm liking it more each day. I do miss Bacau, Elder Gunter, and all the branch members and investigators I knew there! I'm doing well and look forward to getting comfy here and learning more about things here. I hope to be able to get along with the Elders here. I've already found some similarities among us. Stuff like that is a comfort to me. Well, I'm pretty much done. Next week I'll maybe have more to say. I love and miss y'all. Thanks for everything. Peace and blessins! La revedere! Cu drag, Elder Lee.