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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baptism in Bucharest!

Enjoying Bucharest and my 20th Birthday!

    Buna Ziua peoples! How do y'all faceti? Elder Lee here. Let's see, I guess the top news
of the week would be a BOTEZ (baptism)! Almost 10-yr old Iulian Stoica was baptized on the
28th of May by Elder Farr. It was a sweet little ceremony at the chapel of Mihai Bravu.
His grandma and dad came and there were some members and a few english students who stayed
to see it. It was my first real baptism I've been able to be a part of here on my mission.
Iulian's a smart kid, and will make a great member of the church. He'll be an example for
his parents who are not active. On Sunday, I had the privilege of confirming him a member!
I got all the right words memorized in Romanian and gave him a blessing (and the Holy Ghost
as well). It was a cool experience. I was joined in the circle by Elder Farr and some of the
branch presidency. Now, he's a new recent convert with whom to work!

  The whole mission had 7 baptisms this last week. I never really keep track of how many
baptisms the mission gets, but it's doing better than recently. It's sad that Larisa from
Deva is still not baptised, but there is yet another baptismal date for someone in Constanta
 named Eros. Constanta is doing well now. We have a baptismal date still for a guy named
Mihai, but he's been busy with work or something because he's never answered his phone in
almost a week. It's a bummer. His date is obviously pushed back. We need to meet with him!!
Otherwise, our other investigators are doing alright. None of them came to church except
Iulian (technically he was still an investigator before his confirmation). They're all
doing alright, no one is really progressing now. We need to get finding more people that
will become progressing investigators!

   Well, I guess it's my 20th birthday tomorrow. I don't know how I feel about dat. It's really weird.
But I'm excited. I'm probably gonna eat at Ruby Tuesday's for my birthday lunch or dinner. There's
apparently a Ruby Tuesday's here, and I think I might want some American food because it's my
birthday and I get what I want on my birthday. Just kidding, but really though. I don't know what else
we'll be able to do because it's a normal working day. Of course I'll have my cake and stuff. It'll be a
fun day I guess. It's already June! I will be out a year in 3 months! I don't know what to say 'bout dat.
I'm still loving Bucuresti. It's already transfers in a week, and I don't even know what'll happen. I don't
think I like transfer days, because recently, my mission has just been all over the place. It's exciting,
but weird to get used to a new transfer. I assume I'll stay here, and Elder Farr will leave. We'll see eh?

  I can't think of much else to say for this week. It's hard to remember everything that goes down in
Buc. It's a crazy city. Just know these things: I'm happy. The language is coming right along. Elder Farr
and I are getting along great. My new suit pants are very tight. I want some new ties. We had a baptism.
I'm almost in my 6th transfer (9 month mark is June 8th!). Tot e bine. Dragii mei, va doresc succes!
It's good to hear about things at home. Mom and dad, thanks for all the cool news. It sounds like you guys
have a fun summer coming up. I'll put up a few pics of things, including the baptism. I need to run. Sorry if
this email is shorter than usual. I love y'all. Keep it real. Mai vedem. La revedere! Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Working in Bucharest

Week Four in Bucharest - Things are still heating up!

   Buna frati si surori! Ce faceti? I'm doing well again. Man, this week went so fast! This transfer is flipping almost done! It's weird how fast the months have been going. Bucharest is indeed getting pretty dang hot, and it's not even June yet! I'm excited for lots of humidity and heat. It's also very fun on the buses: it's like a can stuffed full of sardines (I heard Dad ate a sardine salad! How was it?) Tons of people pile in the buses and it's darn stuffy. I'm enjoying it though. This week went too fast to remember much. 

  We had a lot of lessons with people and actually have a baptism happening this Saturday, the 28th. It's Iulian's baptism, our ten-year old investigator. I'm excited! Hopefully it will go through nicely, then I can see my 2nd baptism in my mission! Also, we have a new investigator, Mihai, who we contacted on the street by the church a few weeks back. He has heard about the church 2 years ago, and he just might be ready to receive the gospel now, because he told us he read a quarter of the BOM and he accepted a baptismal invitation for the 11th of June! Crazy. He is super cool, but busy with his work. He hasn't made it to church the past 2 Sundays we've invited him. I hope he can have the time or energy to get to church if he wants to be baptized soon! Other than that, we kinda have 2 investigators who aren't deciding to progress. Salvatore and Cristi. They are cool people, but need to keep coming to church! Elder Farr and I have been finding some very cool people the last few days at parks. 3 of them were actually interested in coming to church and said they'd come, but didn't show up. That's always disappointing. That's where our investigators lie right now. The work is going well in Mihai Bravu. The sisters have a baptismal date for someone too. Elder Farr and I are still getting along great and working hard. We had zone leader exchanges on Wednesday. I went with Elder Veenendaal. He's from Draper or Sandy Utah. He's been out since last December or something. I love him already. He's a big snowboarder. We went to Parcul Herastrau and had a few lessons, then had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe there! We had super good bbq bacon cheeseburgers. Man, do I love a real American bbq burger. It was like 88 ron for both of us! Kinda expensive, but I have lots of money in my missionary fund thing. 

   Today, Elder Farr and I made a little trip to Alexandria (a little south and west from Buc) to get some suits! Everyone in the mission knows about this little factory store down there that sells nice suits for cheap. They're also fitted and slim already (just the way I like it). I got a new black and pinstripes suit as well as another new pair of back slacks. All in all, it was 346 ron (the suit being 290 and the pants being 55) I call that cheap. I'm excited because I'm gradually converting into a little Euro-style boy. Elder Farr wanted a gray suit, but couldn't find the one he liked in his size. So he just got pants. That was the bulk of our P-day. 

  I am out of things to say! I am soooooo happy that Spencer is in the MTC! Mom, that's super surprising! I didn't hear anything about him going on a mission, until now apparently. I miss him and our days so dang much! I am super excited for him! I'm also super excited for Camron and Rurika! It was only a matter of time before hearing such news. I love it when cool things happen all at once. Thanks for all the news mom and dad. It's always good to hear how things are. Mom, have a fun summer break soon! Dad, hopefully Reid and Hellyer gets doing better soon. Chris, I hope you like your new job at the computer all day. Jamie and Mark, hope you guys had fun at Las Vegas. Mom, say hi to people in the ward for me. I got my b-day package and accidentally opened it up, totally forgetting that it was, in a sense, my present. Oh well. I love everything in it. I'm wearing the Target shirt right now. I love Target! Apparently I have another package waiting for me in the office, but I don't know who it's from. I will defs make that chocolate cake on my birthday night! (I also consider getting a new suit part of my birthday gifts). Thanks so much mom and dad! I hope you two are doing well and getting excited for your Euro trip. That would be awesome if you see Sara and Matt Holden. I haven't heard from any other friends lately. Hope they're doing well. I probably need to write more letters to more people. I'm just lazy.

   Well, I need to head out. I love you all. I'll talk next week. La revedere frati si surori. Sper ca aveti o saptamana plecuta! Ciao! Love, Elder Lee

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week Three in Bucharest - It is starting to get hot!

What's up! How are y'all? I'm doing foarte bine. Stuff is just moving right along here in Bucharest. Elder Farr and I are having a great time together. The work is going well in Mihai Bravu. One thing though: it's getting pretty hot. I don't know if the rain is done for awhile, but it's getting quite hot already. It's really fun though. I guess it's just a time for change because it's moving into summer, President and Sora Lunberg only have a month and a half left, and also, the Van Ormans (office couple) are leaving in 2 weeks or less. It's gonna be weird with all these changes coming in a few weeks and months. It's all part of the experience though, right?

   We had a good week. Wednesday and Thursday were training and zone conference. The training was pretty long (about 10 hours or something) but was cool. Zone conference was really good. A lot of missionaries, including President, his wife, and the Van Ormans, gave their "dying testimonies" adica their last testimonies at a zone conference (because it's their last zone conference) The spirit was just going crazy in the room. (By the way, "adica" means "meaning") We held it in the beautiful Panduri chapel in an underground bomb shelter pretty much. Both Buc zones came, including the cities of Buc, Constanta, Ploiesti, Pitesti, Craiova, and Alexandria. Fun. We started english classes again this week. We only have a few students but it's fun. On Saturday, we helped in a big activity planned by the senior humanitarian couple, The Wolsey's. We helped pick up some people with disabilities and took them to the Mihai Bravu chapel to have a big talent show, art display, and lunch. We had plenty of delicious mici! Elder Farr and I missed out on it though, because we had english scheduled at the time and right after, we had a long lesson with a student about God and things. We had an effective Saturday. On Sunday, we saw 3 of our investigators at church! One of them being Salvatore! We were excited that he came because he hasn't ever come yet and we really stressed the importance of church. He said he'd think about it...and he eventually came a little later into Sacrament meeting. Today, most of the Buc missionaries gathered together and played football and stuff on the big field next to the chapel. It was HOT. I'm pretty sure I am sun-burned too. Good times though!

   Otherwise, things are all going well. This transfer's going real fast; it's about halfway done. I can't think of any big news or anything now. That's enough about me and the mission though. How are you doing family and friends? Mom and dad, it's good to hear all is well. I heard mom is excited to have a summer break really soon. Thanks for sending me those pictures. I still haven't gotten that package yet, but I'm expecting it soon. I got a "Varstnicul" tag from the office, which is the translation of "elder" in Romanian. I probably won't wear it so often because people will see it and ask all the time, "you're not an elderly person. What the heck?" I just though it'd be cool to have. I hear Chris has those 2 job offers. That's good for him. Hope things work out for him and Liz. How's the ward doing? That's a cool little missionary board at the church. I'm just kinda upset though because...why don't we get any nice plaques like in Utah wards??? Anyways, cool stuff.

  Well, I'm done for today. P-days go fast in Bucharest, and we want to look at some snazzy clothes at a mall somewhere right now. I love you all. Keep me informed on any big news mom and dad. Keep it real and have a good week. P.S. it's my birthday soon and I don't want to turn 20 already. Anyways, Goodbye! Love, Elder Lee.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week Two in Bucharest

Howdy. What's up? Elder Lee again. I just want to say that I had a great week. Week no. 2 in Bucharest. I'm enjoying it a lot here. It's been kinda rainy for a while. I don't know if I like rain as a missionary. It really spoils a lot of contacting and things of that sort. Elder Farr and I are getting along quite well. This week, we were able to talk to a few investigators, including Cristi Firaru and his family, Domnul Brazeanu, our Italian lawyer Salvatore, and our boy Iulian who has a baptismal date for the 28th of May. I've also met some great members here in the branch, including Cristi Males, who went on a mission in Russia and who let Elder Farr and I use his computer for our Mother's Day skype calls. I also like Elder Veenendaal and Elder Brunner, our zone leaders. We all get along great. This week has gone by pretty fast. Apart from our lessons with our investigators and with a recent convert named Adrian (who is nick-named Champion) we basically did lots of english contacting and gave out english cards to people, because the classes start tomorrow. We like to go to Universitate, where there is a school and lots of young people who'd be interested in learning english.

    Our apartment still has little cockroaches as usual. It doesn't "bug" me anymore (did you get the joke?). I just don't want them in my food, that's all. Church was cool. Our investigator Iulian came with his grandma, Sora Stoica. I'm getting to be pretty comfortable in the branch. I haven't met half of the people, yet, but I will over time. Today for P-day, we all met together at a fat mall in Piata Unirii (right in the middle of the city, next to Casa Poporului) and bowled. It was pretty fun. Then we had lunch there in a food court. Elder Farr and I looked at some classy clothes as well, but I didn't buy anything...yet. I may be planning on purchasing some nice ties and a cheap suit down in Alexandria. P-days go too fast, especially here, where you have to travel underground everywhere and take a good chunk of time in doing that. It's fun though. The work is going well here in Mihai Bravu. My Romanian is getting along better and better. I'm studying out of Doctrina si Legaminte (D&C) now for personal study. I'm done with the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. I don't know if I want to do the Old Testament though. Really boring and some stuff is so weird, like Song of Solomon. If I recall, Joseph Smith said that that particular book is not inspired scripture. I don't know if I should waste time reading uninspired scripture. D&C is really cool though. I would hate to be one of the guys whose names are written who the Lord calls out because of their disobedience though.

   We have zone training and zone conference this week on Wednesday and Thursday. It will be at Panduri with both Buc zones. It's always fun to see everyone and hear from President, the AP's and zone leaders. It's also nice that I am already here in Buc and don't need to travel to get to zone conference (well, 3 metro stations I guess). Also, yesterday was mother's day, which meant that we spoke to our families. Mom and dad, it was great to chat. It was also great to see Kenadee, pointing and waving her hand all over the place and chewing on a watch. She's big now. She should start walking someday soon. I'm glad that skype worked out without incidence. I heard that Tyler's skype call was being stupid again. Why do they always seem to have bad luck with that? Mom and dad, I hope you had a fun time in Utah and a safe drive back. I hope it's not too rainy there. I'm excited for your big trip in only 2 months. You'll have to take bunches of pictures and buy me a souvenir and mail it to me! Thanks for the birthday package too! I guess it's a surprise. I should be getting it soon then I guess. Well, I'm super happy that it's now Bishop Larson. He's a way good guy. He was a fun scoutmaster back in the day. It'll be cool to go back to see him as the bishop, and to have my interview with President Strong. Tell him I say hi and felicitari (congrats).

   I had an eventless week otherwise. Sorry if I'm being boring. I noticed that I haven't taken any pictures here yet, so I need to get on that and email some. I hope it gets sunnier so my pictures will be nicer looking. I'll have to go and see all the cool places and get pictures. I hope everyone in the family is doing well. Thanks mom and dad for chatting with me on skype and telling me all the news and things. Keep me updated on anything important going on in the ward or family or whatever. I'm already out of things to say I guess. Love y'all and I'll talk again next week. Have a good week. La revedere! Love, Elder Lee.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Memories of Deva & Lipova Castle

Bucharest is Beautiful in May!

Hello everyone! Elder Lee here. Well, here I am in Bucharest now. I feel like I've been all over the country now! First, I really like Bucharest already. Obviously, I've been here a little bit earlier in my mission starting out and on an exchange, but now I get to serve here. I thought I'd hate it (and the tiny city to big city contrast) at first, but I am already getting comfortable and enjoying it here. It sure is huge, but it's not too overwhelming. I'm already about used to the metro system and all the stops and stuff. It's just a lot of travel, but the metros here are fast. I do miss Deva, but I like being here with Elder Farr. Elder Farr is really cool. He's from Ogden Utah and did some school at Weber State or somewhere before. He is a transfer ahead of me and knows the language very well. We are already getting along well.

    The branch here in Mihai Bravu is really cool. I have only met a few people so far (at a branch barbecue activity and at church) and they are really nice. There are about 50-60 active members. Plus, we have a chapel here! I've been so used to little villas with very few active members. Church was great yesterday. So the missionaries in my district (Bucharest East) are me, Elder Farr, ZL's Elder Veenendaal and Brunner, and Sora Hansen and Sora Henriksen. There is also a senior couple for the humanitarian aid stuff here: The Wolsey's. They're from Canada. We all make up east Bucharest, or Mihai Bravu. There are other missionaries that make up Panduri (Bucharest West). Also, at church, the AP's and office elders came, so it was good to see them too. There are a lot of fun missionaries in Bucharest, and today, 10 of us played ultimate frisbee and football out on a field right by the Casa Poporului (that fat, giant government palace) Sorry, I don't have pics of it. It was fun. It's kinda been a little rainy the past few days, but warm. It's always a party here every P-day and the Buc. East and West zones usually meet up and do stuff together. Bucharest is a very big and pretty city. There are some giant parks here like Parcul Tineretului and Parcul Herastrau. These parks beat any park in the U.S. They're pretty much like Central Park. We do contacting there. Our apartment is nice, but has cockroaches! When I first got in, elder Farr had moved all the food out of the cupboards and out into the other room to spray down all the cupboards with Raid stuff. We have since put all the stuff away, but every once in a while, I see a few cockroaches. Don't worry, they are very small, but still cockroaches. We even have one just chilling in the microwave where the number screen thing is. I don't know how it got in there. We live pretty close to the chapel, just a short bus ride away.

   I am still getting adjusted and meeting all of our investigators. I have met with some, including a ten year old boy Iulian and an Italian lawyer named Salvatore. There are some very cool people I have met so far in Bucharest. There are lots and lots of people that live here and travel through here. I'm liking the big city vibes though. Our district is very fun, and so is the Buc. West district. It has been a long week, but the past 4 days I have been here have gone fast. We have zone conference combined with Buc West on the 11th and 12th this month. It is also Mother's Day in a week! This means that I can call you family! So on Sunday here I'll be able to Skype. I guess it will be the same deal as Christmas skype call: On Sunday evening any time between 5 pm to 9 pm. So that will mean Sunday morning for you Mom and Dad. I guess just be ready on skype for me during that time (for you it would be 8 am to 12 am I think) wherever you'll be (Chris's or Jamie's). Hopefully it'll happen! I'll call you with Jamie's and Mark's password thing. But you can also call me at retroxhouse. It's the same name as I had during Christmas. Good? It should work out. Just be ready! I will most likely be on at just around 7 pm my time (10 am your time).

   Well, I really don't have a lot else to say, just another new transfer, new city, and new companion. I'm excited. Bucharest will be pretty fun and pretty crazy. Mom, I got the easter package! Thanks so much. I miss Cadbury eggs. I also got a graduation announcement from Liz. Congrats to her on graduating! P.S. I bought a mp3 player in Deva for about 200 lei or something, just to let you know. I thought I would like to get other missionaries' music on it. It's not an iPod, but it's similar, and it has 4 gigs. Well, it's good to hear about home. I also hear Osama Bin Laden is dead. That's cool I guess. It's about time. Where has he been all this time? Any other big news? Tell me who the next bishop will be soon. Also, tell people that there is a difference between buCHaRest and buDaPest. One is Hungary, the other is Romania. Well, I can't think of anything else. I'll let y'all know how Bucharest treats me. Mom and dad, I'm excited for your big Europe trip soon. Have fun in Utah too! Say hi to the rest of the family there. We'll talk again soon via skype! Ok, I hope there's nothing else I'm forgetting. Sweet, I love y'all! La revedere! Love, Elder Lee.