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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Goodbye Deva (I'll miss you) - Hello Bucharest!

  Bune ziua! How are we all doing? I hope well. I have been doing very well. A lot happened this week. Plus it's transfers already. I'll try and make this a little shorter than I usually do. Well, I guess I should first say, that I am leaving Deva. I'm getting transferred to Bucharest (Mihai Bravu)! It came as a surprise, because I was about 95% sure I would stay here, as I just got one and outed earlier. In fact, I really would have liked to stay here. It has probably been my favorite city and branch! But, I'm getting one and outed yet again. My new companion there will be Elder Farr. He is the district leader there and he is in the group ahead of me, so I kinda know him already. I think he's from Ogden, Utah. I don't know whether to feel excited or sad, because I'll miss Deva and it's kinda a bummer that I'm already leaving it. But, time to continue yet again into my 5th transfer (I hit my 8 month mark on May 8th!) Elder Newton is staying, and he is training a new boboc! He's gonna be such a good trainer. Elder Laherty is staying and Elder Nelson from my group is coming here to be with him. Elder Fonnesbeck (noooo, I'm gonna miss him!) is going to Craiova. Transfers really are random craziness sometimes.

   Hmm, this week was Easter. We had a good easter church, but had no investigators there. Only 4 members even came. Even though it was little-attended, it was a good sacrament meeting, all about Christ. I gave a talk on his Resurrection. Perhaps more interesting than our church was the Orthodox mass thing we all went to Saturday night! We got permission to participate in their Easter ceremony at a big church here with a few investigator friends. We went in, lit candles, and walked around the church and listened and sung some hymns about Christ's death and resurrection. It was pretty cool. Also, our branch had an Easter party on Wednesday that was pretty fun. Fratele Simionescu made his tasty sarmale and we had a good time. All 4 of us sang "He is Risen" and other hymns. It was a great week! I also bought myself a little easter present- a shoulderbag finally. It was only 100 lei. It's pretty nice. Now I don't need to lug a backpack a around. Elder Newton and I got a lot of lessons and did a lot of hard work. I have had a very good time with him this transfer, and will miss him and his example. Basically, it was a very fun and productive last Easter week for me in Deva.

   Our zone trip to Lipova was fun! We all were able to go (except for Oradea) and we all climbed around on the cetate and took pictures. Then we played ultimate frisbee by the cetate on a field. There were a lot of sheep and a nice view on top. I got a little burned, but It's all gone now. It was fun to travel and hike and run around and see other missionary friends. I got a picture of me with an old shepherd and an Orthodox priest who randomly showed up. It was all that I hoped it would be. I have a lot of cool pictures from this past week, so I will try to send some soon (today and/or next week).

   We didn't end up having any baptisms here last Saturday. Both are just about ready, but Larisa just needs a definite, strong testimony. Roxi, unfortunately, wants to be baptized, but her parents are not very accepting of her choice. I hope they can be baptized soon after I leave (Sat. 30th). Even though we had no baptisms this transfer, we still worked super hard and I am happy that we did all that we could have. The work has gone well, and I have been improving with the language and with being super diligent. I hope to carry it with me into Bucharest.

   I think that's about all the big news. It's good to hear from you mom and dad. Things are going well in Redlands I assume? Sounds good. Congrats to Taylor Adams! I didn't even know he was already old enough to go on his mission yet! He'll be awesome. It's good that the family and ward is doing well. So Five Guys opened in Redlands? Crazy. Why am I missing out on all the good food coming to Redlands??? Lucky. I hope work and school and everything keep going well. Life as a missionary has been very good, and when transfers come, crazy. There is always something new to experience, and always a new challenge to conquer. However, it's always rewarding when you do your best. Also, it's been going so fast! Well, I don't know much about how to coordinate the mother's day call or skype. We'll have to finalize it soon. I assume we will do it the Monday after or the Saturday before. Just be ready on skype or at the cell phone in case. I will probably get that Easter package in 3 days at transfer day. Also, mom and dad, I have a request. If it's possible, I would like some mementos. First, I think it would be a good thing for me to have a little photo album booklet thing with pictures of family or friends. If possible, could you put together something  like that with any pictures that you'd think I would like? Also, I want to have my mission call letter here with me. I am thinking it would be easy enough to make a copy of it and send it and a photo album in a package some day soon. I would appreciate these things. Ok, well, I think I am done for today. Lots of big news. I am excited though, even if I have to leave and get used to being in the complete opposite environment: giant Bucharest and subways and etc. I will really miss Deva. I really want to stay here! Well, I love you all and hope you had a happy Easter. Until next week (in Bucharest). La revedere! Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Deva is Awesome

Hey everybody! How are y'all? I'm doing super well. I had a great week. But first, I want to say congrats to former Bishop Strong. It's very cool that he is now the Redlands Stake President! I wasn't really expecting that because he's so young! I hope he does his best and I know he will; he's an awesome guy. I hope, mom and dad, that you enjoyed stake conference. It sounded really cool. I wish I could have been there...but, I think Romania is a lot more fun. Be sure and tell me who our new bishop will be...any guesses? Maybe it could even be you, Dad! Haha. Well, that's exciting stuff.

    I have had an excellent week here in Deva. The work has been rolling like a stone cut out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2:44-45). This past week has been my most successful week in my mission so far!  Elder Newton and I have been working like nobody's business. We (at least I) got a new record of lessons taught in one week: 27! The other elders are also doing very well. Elder Newton and I have a baptismal date for this Saturday for Larisa. The other elders have a baptismal date this Saturday for a girl named Roxi. We hope to see both baptized. Larisa needs a strong witness that the Book of Mormon is true, so we will meet with her every day this week. Both girls are about ready sa fie botezati (to be baptized). Other than that, we have no other baptismal dates yet. We are still talking to our other investigators and trying to get them to progress. Yesterday at church, we had a good turnout: 8 total investigators for both companionships came. It was a good sacrament meeting. After church, we all went to the Fotea's to eat lunch and have a little lesson with Larisa and Roxi. It was fun. Our zone has been doing pretty well. The mission got 2 baptisms this week: Cornelia and Felicia in Constanta! I was excited to see that the city I was in now has 2 new members! I don't know Felicia, but Cornelia was there when I was there. She'd always come to church as if she was already a member haha. It's good that she really is a member now. Also, a cool guy named Daniel in Bacau has a new baptismal date! We had been working with him a lot to get him baptized, but he never really progressed even though he is an awesome friend to the missionaries there. Exciting stuff.

   So the work is going well and I am happy. I can't believe that the transfer is almost over. It ends on April 27th. I hope I stay. I love Deva. I actually hope all of us stay! I like my district a lot. It has been fun to serve with Elder Fonnesbeck. He's so hilarious. I am thinking that at least I will stay (and obviously President Newton). I don't want to be "one and outed" again. Today, our zone is going to Lipova! I'll be sure to have fun and take some good pictures. It's a bummer though, because Oradea can't make it. They are too far away and they didn't reach all their goals for the last week. I don't get to see my favorite elder, Elder Gunter! Oh well. I'll still have fun. Right now we're emailing earlier in the morning because we have a train to catch at 8 that will take us to Lipova. We don't have much time, so I guess this email might be a little shorter and I won't be able to put any pictures up. Don't fret dragi frati si surori. Anyways. things are going well and I hope to have a good last week of this transfer. Soon I'll be in my 5th transfer and will hit my 8 month mark! My birthday is coming up soon too. I don't think I want to turn 20 yet! Also, have a happy Easter and I will be waiting for that package Mom. Thanks!

   Well, it's good to hear that everything is going well at home and in the ward and stuff. Tell me any more exciting news next week mom and dad. Mainly, who will be the new bishop. Love y'all! I gotta run now. La revedere! Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun in Deva

Still Working Hard in Deva!

Hey everybody! How are we all? I'm doing great. Deva and the missionary work here are excellent. Elder Newton and I are doing very well. We had 20 lessons last week and got 10 investigators to church (for both companionships). I am enjoying each day and we are busy each day. We have a baptismal date for the 23rd of April with a girl named Larisa. She's 13 and is really nice and sincere. We just need to keep her testimony strong and hopefully, she will be baptized, as well as her mom and dad and grandma maybe! Elder Fonnesbeck and Laherty are doing a good job too. This transfer is going fast. I am enjoying it all.

  The past week, we were busy with work each day. On Thursday, I had an exchange with Elder Fonnesbeck. It was a way fun day. We got 6 lessons and enjoyed being together again just like MTC times. He is doing well as a senior companion. On Friday, we had interviews with President Lundberg and his AP's, Elder Mathis and Elder Bennett. It was good to see them and talk to them. On Sunday, we had branch conference. Arad District President Ursu and his counselor Pres. Geambasu came to reside and talked. We had about 29 people there in total! Lots of members, 10 investigators, and the Arad senior couple came because they did apartment inspections the night before (they are The Howell's and are from England somewhere, sorry I forgot Dad. They are really nice. They came about the same time I did into the country). It was a very nice meeting and I hope lots of our investigators could feel the Spirit there. Also, during the conference, President Ursu did the sustaining vote stuff with everyone's callings. Apparently, I am now the branch secretary! I guess it's a calling, but I didn't need to be set apart for it. It really means nothing though, because all it entails is helping Elder Newton with tithing and finance stuff. Cool I guess. I heard that Elder Tyler Lee is now a district leader. Congrats to him! He'll like it. I wonder when I'll be a district leader...

   Our zone did not end up going to Lipova...yet. We didn't all reach our goals last week, so we didn't go today. We are already improving with our goals this week and hopefully we can go next week. Deva is probably the city that is doing the best in this zone. It would be cool to go see a sweet castle as a whole zone, so I hope we all do well this week. I think the whole mission only got 1 baptism last week in Sibiu or something. I forgot the total number now. Deva should be seeing at least 1 or 2 or 3 this transfer, but maybe next transfer. We have been so busy and now I hope we can see the fruits of our labor! If we don't see any baptisms, it's fine I guess. The best we can do is our best, right? We will work carefully with those that are getting very close to baptism and help both Roxana's which are already ready for baptism. One Roxana is fearful, and one Roxana can't come to church every week because she lives in a city a little bit away from Deva. We'll keep working hard. After this transfer, I would like to stay in Deva. It's a nice, small city that is getting greener and greener and blossoms are starting to grow on the trees. 

   It's almost Easter. It's also kinda almost Mother's Day. Mom and dad, I will be awaiting that package. (Oh, if you can find them, would you be able to send me also my one white shirt and black slacks that I wore just recently before my mission? I miss those and feel like wearing them in the coming months.) I do not know for sure when we can skype or call on Mother's day. It could be a day after or before since it's on a Sunday. We will find out for sure a little later. I hope you enjoyed Tom and Kim's stay mom and dad. How was church with them? Did Jansen and his friend go bike it up all over Redlands? Did you go out anywhere to eat? I hope it was fun and that they are having fun at Disneyland. Thanks for more pics of Kenadee! She's pretty goofy. And bigger. It is sad to hear that Elder Perry won't come to stake conference. Why not? At least be sure to tell me who the new stake president will be. When does Bishop Strong get released? I forgot how long he's been bishop. I hope Chris and Liz find out what they want to be doing pretty soon. Is Chris ever going to find a new job, or just keep teaching at UVU and Westminster? Keep me posted on family and church and work mom and dad.

   Well, I can't think of anything else to say. We had a pretty standard week and I think I mentioned everything important. Just know that I am doing well with the language, Elder Newton and I are being super diligent and effective, and the work in Deva is going quite well. I am happy and am happy that y'all are happy. Jamie's birthday is soon, so Happy Birthday in advance Jamers! Ok, well I think I'm done for today. We'll talk next week. Mondays come and go so fast. Va iubesc! La revedere. Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Deva is still Divine!

Buna ziua! Ce faceti? I'm doing well. I had a great week. Why are they going so fast? Elder Newton and I are doing awesome together. He's a way cool missionary. Some more about him: he is from Holiday, Salt Lake City. He lives close to President Monson (he's in his stake). He did a year at U of U and started his mission last May. He's in a smaller group with 2 other elders and 2 sisters (Elder Cooper, Bateman, Sora Ausen, Wilson) He started out in Craiova, then went to Chisinau, then to Alexandria, and now here. He gets down to business as a missionary. He is a good example for me. I could do a little better to be as diligent and awesome as he is. We did a lot of work this last week. We got 19 lessons (3 with a member present, which is IMPORTANT! We need even more member presents). We talked to tons of people on the streets and now have a few new progressing investigators-- Andreea, Larisa, and some others. We hope to get some baptismal dates this week with at least some of these new people and 2 girls both named Roxana that are SO close to baptism. The work is moving. The other elders here are doing well too. We make a great team of the Lord's servants in Deva! Our zone is trying to meet goals so that we can take a zone trip to a castle called Lipova next P-day! It's between Arad and Deva. I hope we can reach our goals and go!

   Deva is still super cool. I really like it. The weather is getting warmer and stuff is getting a bit greener. It's April! We had the opportunity to watch 3 sessions of general conference at the home of the Fotea family. It was so nice. We had 2 investigators over with us, had some lunch, and watched conference on their computer. I took some good notes! I enjoyed the talks I have heard so far. We still have to finish priesthood session and Sunday afternoon session. How'd you like conference Mom and Dad? Did you watch it with Jamers and the gang? I really appreciate general conference now more than ever. I've taken it for granted so much in my life, until now. The Fotea family is so fun! They have a 7 year old daughter, a younger son and a 5 month old son. They are loud and crazy most of the time. I'm grateful they let us watch conference and fed us. They are probably the coolest family I've seen in Romania so far! (P.S dad, Brother Fotea served a mission here in Romania, but went to the Preston, England MTC first)

   I went on an exchange with a zone leader last week. Elder Bateman came here with Elder Newton, and I went to Arad again with Elder Betteridge. It was a 2-day thing (wed and thurs), and I enjoyed being in Arad again and working there with Elder Betteridge. He's from Tacoma, WA and went to BYU for his freshman year. He is in his 15th transfer, and he extended to stay another transfer with some in his group. We had a good time working and getting to know each other better. Some other eventful days of last week: Tuesday was Elder Newton's 20th birthday. We surprised him with cake at the villa and some members came and we had a good time. Friday was April Fool's Day, but I neither fooled nor got fooled. And of course, general conference weekend. A good week all in all. Yesterday on Sunday, we still had church. It was fast and testimony meeting. We had 4 investigators come and the other elders had 1. It was a very nice meeting. This morning, Elder Newton and I did studies at the cetate again. It's a good P-day morning tradition. I didn't take any pictures today or last week really, except of the inside of the church villa. Unfortunately, my camera battery is dead. I swear I charged it just a few days ago. Dumb. I'll take some new pictures this week though. Thank you dad for those pics at San Diego. Looks like it was a nice day. Hope you had fun with Kenadee at the zoo and stuff. I hope Kenadee gets feeling better too. She's big now! I also hope it'll be fun when Tom and Kim come and stay.

  I hope things are going well at home. Sounds like all the family is doing well. I haven't heard from any friends lately, so I assume they're too busy having fun wherever they are. Well, I hit 7 months in a few days. It's getting warmer. We get to not wear suits anymore everyday because it's getting warmer. Then on next October conference day, we wear our suits again for another 6 months. The language is going well for me. I am loving it. I forgot the mission total of baptisms as of now, maybe 135 or 140 range. On March, the whole mission only had 5 baptisms, making it the lowest amount of baptisms in a month since 15 months ago! We need more baptisms! President Lundberg wants April to be the best month ever in terms of baptisms. He's gonna be gone real soon. He only has 3 more months, and then we get a new president. We'll have interviews with president on Friday I think. Anyways, that's about all I can think of saying for now. (When is Easter and Mother's day mom?...just wondering) Well, enjoy the week y'all. I'll do the same. I hope I said everything I wanted to. If not, whatevs. I'll talk next week! Lurve yah all. Peace and blessins. La revedere! Cu drag, Varstnicul Lee.