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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving was great in Craiova

The Holidays are upon us

Dear Family and Friends:

   Buna. It's me. I'm sorry I'm a bit late with this email, but I kinda ran outta time yesterday to do this. For P-day yesterday, us 4 decided to go to Alexandria. Elder Veenendaal wanted to buy a couple of suits before he goes home, and Elder Abbott got one too. Don't worry. I didn't buy another one. However, I tried on a sweet gray one and liked it. Maybe later...Mom and dad, I was thinking it would be fun, if you did pick me up, to go to this infamous suit factory in Alexandria. I wonder if dad would like the euro look. I'd like to go home with at least another one anyways. Well, we had a good day. We took a train at 7 in the morning to a small city called Rosiori, then hit up a maxi taxi to Alexandria. We met up with Elder Benson and Horgmo who are serving there, and went to the suit place and had really good food at a restaurant called Rovi's. It was fun to hang around with them. Alexandria is small and doesn't really have anything super amazing to do. On the way back to Craiova, I got a bad headache and had a nasty stomach ache. I guess it's because I didn't eat breakfast? I survived the train ride back, and when we got home, I took a hot shower and went to bed a little bit early. I feel fine now! It was fun I guess.

   It's been a good week here. Craiova's awesome as always. It was actually kinda warmer the past 2 days here, which is nice. It's fun to be around Elder Veenendaal, and he's excited to be going home very soon (Dec. 14). He's going home early for Christmas with a few other missionaries, and when he leaves, I believe I will be here with Elder Abbott with Elder Rasmussen going to Galati. Craiova will be a 2-missionary city until February, when more elders finally come in. There have only been sisters coming in recently, and a number of very young-in-the-mission soras have to train! Fun stuff! I had a great time training and I think it would be fun to do it again. We still have to live in the same apartment for 2 more weeks. It's going alright. I'm happy to stay here in Craiova for the Holidays. It's almost December! There has been no snow yet... It's been good with Elder Rasmussen. We're still getting along fine. Right now, we're getting out lots of english cards before the classes start up again. BREAKING NEWS: We had a baptism last Saturday! Gina got baptized! It was a great ceremony. Elder Gauthier came down with his mom (they're on a little mission tour) and he performed the baptism. Gina was happy and so were we all. I'm glad for her decision, and it's cool to see how the Gospel has literally changed her life. The gospel's true! We've been blessed to have 4 baptisms in Craiova in just 3 months: Gina, Claudia, and Claudia's 2 children. It was fun to see Elder Gauthier one more time and say bye. It's so crazy how it's been a year since we first met. I'll miss him. He's one of the first missionaries I ever met here in Romania. Elder Rasmussen and I are working with Paula. We still haven't met with her a second time, but this week, I hope we do. She's really cool. She's read some of the BOM and told us she reads it when she feels angry or upset. She couldn't make it to church last Sunday, but she did make it to Gina's baptism! Otherwise, we need to find more investigators.

   Church was good. We had Viorel and Sora Panduru come (with her adorable little boy and girl), who are both less-active members. Viorel even came earlier and passed the sacrament! Elder Rasmussen and Toni gave talks. Cristina, Toni's girlfriend, taught a great Sunday school lesson on how we need to be thankful to God, and have faith in him in order to see miracles and be redeemed. The Radulescu's invited us over for food again! They prepared ciorba, potato-turkey casserole, sarmale, and some good little cakes and hot-cross bun thingies. They also had the best tea I've ever had (don't worry, it's not against the W. of W.) It was called sunatoare or something, and they put in some apple stuff and cherry syrup. Super sweet and tasty. I love their little home. It's so comfy and it feels like grandpa and grandma's when I walk in! Oh yeah I almost forgot Thanksgiving meal! It was good. Us 4 just made it at home. We had chicken with a good herb sauce in sauteed peppers and onions. We made garlic mashed potatoes and buttered carrots, with caramel-vanilla ice cream and microwaved chocolate swiss rolls for dessert! We made root beer too! Snap! It was so tasty! I was really full after. I hope you guys all had a good turkey day!

   Mom and dad, I'm glad things were fun in Utah for Thanksgiving. Man, I wish I could have seen Tyler come home! I'm sure Kim was excited! Sounds like a lot of fun. I hope you had fun at Chris and Liz's. Sounds like she made a lot of good food. I got that little thanksgiving package! Thanks. I like the Hershey's licorice. I wonder what I'll be getting for Christmas...haha. Anyways. I'm glad things are going well here in Craiova and there at home. I hope you all have a good week. We'll talk. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Craiova, Romania

I'm Staying in Craiova

Dear Family and Friends:

   Good day everybody. It's been another week here in Craiova. It's been going well. The weather has gotten even colder. It's not snowy yet, but it's been gray and a little nasty outside the past 2 days. It's getting towards the end of November. That means the holidays are about here. Oh yeah, that reminds me. I'll be staying here in Craiova with Elder Rasmussen for this next transfer. So, I'll be here for all of the Holidays. This next transfer will go to January 4th or something. I'm excited to stay. It'll be really cool and pretty with snow all over in a little while. Elder Kopsa's going to Sibiu, Elder Abbott is staying, and guess who's coming in with him? Elder Veenendaal! Yep. My old office elder and zone leader in Buc will come in, but just for the first 3 weeks of the transfer. He and 2 others are going home early for Christmas. So, when he leaves, either Elder Rasmussen or Elder Abbott will probably leave to Galati, where Elder Schank is for his last 3 weeks. Transfers are looking good. The mission had 4 baptisms this last week and there are 20 baptismal dates in the mission. We were told not to look for an apartment any more for a few weeks, because they said the mission has a lack of funds or something to allow a new apartment to be opened. So, we'll just do whatever they say.

   We have been doing alright in Craiova. We have just had a little lack of lessons and new investigators. We have been putting a good amount of focus on Gina, the one who's getting baptized this Friday. She's basically ready! She has the interview on Thursday and the baptism on Friday. We still need to make the program. We got a cool template sent to us from the office. We're excited for her and her baptism coming up. Otherwise, we don't really have many other investigators that are progressing. We have found a few cool people to set up with though, including Paula, a really cool lady who has come to church here twice, both times with visitors from Buc. She lives here in Craiova. We have her number and we'll try and meet with her. Oh yeah, more people came from Buc yesterday at church. The Dragoi's, Mateescu's, and Fratele Paun! It was cool to see them, especially Fratele Paun (I'd always visit him and his daughter in Buc). He's doing well. Church was good. Pres. Dragoi (1st or 2nd counselor in the Buc District presidency) and Frat. Mateescu spoke in Sacrament. After, The Radulescu's prepared a meal for us missionaries and Bro. Spooner. They made us turkey ciorba and a good turkey potato casserole with cranberry cake for the dessert. They live in a nice, cozy villa. Sora Panduru came with her 2 adorable kids. It was good to see her. Pres Spooner is gong to leave home on December 14th. We'll have a Christmas party on the 3rd of December. I'm not sure what we're doing for Thanksgiving. If no one has us over to eat, then we'll just count that meal at the Radulescu's as an early Thanksgiving meal.

   Well, everything else is going well. I'm so excited for Elder Lee. I hope he has a safe flight and gets adjusted to real life again. It'll be exciting for him. I hope everyone's doing well back at home. Thanks for the news about BYU. They better keep winning! I am still awaiting that package. It'll probably be at the gara on transfer day. I think I'll be staying with Elder Abbott here and Elder Rasmussen will get Elder Veenendaal, so they'll pick up mail and supplies for us. I hope you enjoy Utah and being with family mom and dad! Give Tyler a huge hug for me! Let me know any other big or interesting news. Have a good week! Buh-bye!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, November 14, 2011

Craiova is Cool!

Staying Cool in Craiova

Dear family and friends:

   Good Monday. Hope you had a great week. How has the first couple weeks of November been? Here in Craiova, it's getting kinda cold. No snow yet, just that crisp, almost biting cold coming on. I am sporting my new scarf though, so I'm keeping it warm, and stylish (it's a nice black and gray plaid one purchased for 18 lei). It's almost Thanksgiving; it will happen 2 days into next transfer. So I'll see if I'll still be here. This transfer is going fast. There's just one week left. Next Monday, we'll find out transfers. It just keeps getting faster. I'm excited for Tyler coming home in just a week. He's definitely excited, I bet, and is probably at least somewhat trunky. It'll be weird when that day comes. Part of me won't want to leave, and part of me will. Don't worry though, I'm not getting trunky thinking about it...

   The week went well. Elder Rasmussen and I are still getting along. Craiova's still cool and pretty as always. We looked at 2 apartments again, and decided to move into one of them. We're gonna meet the proprietar tonight and go through our contract, to see if he likes it. We're praying that he will. Otherwise, we'll just have to tell the office elders to change some things on our contract and then try again. It's a nice apartment, literally right in the center of the city, so it'd be cool if we can get it. It's something really random to be doing, I've noticed, to be looking at random apartments to try to rent one out, speaking to agency workers and proprietars (in Romanian) in Craiova, Romania as a 20 year old American. Alas, it is what must be done.

   Missionary work is still going. We were really excited to be able to see a baptism on Saturday! It was Claudia, the other elder's investigator (whose family are all members already). She was baptized by Pres. Spooner. It was an awesome ceremony. The spirit was in rich abundance. The confirmation the next day was also awesome. A family from Mihai Bravu came to visit church here in Craiova (the Brinaru's). They're an awesome family and they remembered me from my days in Buc. It was nice to be able to see them again and talk with them a little bit. Gina, our investigator, came to the baptism and to church. She really enjoyed it. We're really excited for her, because she decided she will be baptized on the 25th of November, by my old friend, Elder Gauthier. She is ready for baptism. She's got a super solid testimony and has changed so much. I wonder which one of us will be here for her baptism, because it will take place 3 days after transfers. It's always super cool to see a baptism here. They don't happen super often, and they're really something special (even if they're not our own investigators). The branch is doing fine. Still small, but we're continuing to work with the less actives. There are some cool members here: Spooner's, Radulescu's, Toni, Cristina, Cristian, Alexandru, Sora Panduru and her 2 awesome kids, Viorel, and more. We hope to keep helping the branch grow and keep finding new people that will help to grow it.

   That's about it in my neck of the woods. It sounds like things at home are going well. I hope the fam's doing well. Thanks, mom, for sending me that package. I still haven't gotten it, but most likely will get it at transfers. That's scary to hear about Matt and his family. It's really amazing that they weren't hurt at all. God sure does protect His missionaries (even those who aren't quite at the MTC yet!) How's work mom and dad? Finally getting over that cold, mom? Hopefully. I heard that BYU won their game. That's good. But I hear Riley Nelson is injured. Is that bad? How's Jake Heaps doing? They should win their next game. Mom and dad, I hope you guys enjoy going to Utah and being there for Thanksgiving time. Are you actually going to be there at the airport for Tyler's homecoming? If so, tell him I say hi, that I love him, and that I congratulate him for completing his full-time mission!!! Well, I don't think there's anything else. Have a good week!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Still Growing to Love Craiova, Romania

Craiova - City of Wonders!

Dear dragi frati si surori (si prieteni si familie):

   Good Monday to you. It's been another whole week in Craiova, city of wonders. The weather has been pretty good, not too cold. I wonder when it will start snowing. It's getting to the middle of November. Last year in Bacau, it first snowed in the last week of November. The time change makes things a little more dark a little earlier. It gets dark here at like 5:45 or 6. Kinda bummerish, but it's making us do more blocs! We have permission to do our langauage study at night if we don't do it in the morning, so we've been doing that lately. Elder Rasmussen and I are getting along fine. He's a funny guy. He went to a year at Utah State University (if I haven't said this yet) He said he really enjoyed it. He rode a bike there, and said he even rode it around in the middle of winter! He's into philosophy, so he's a smart guy. I'm not too into deep stuff like that, but we still get along, for the most part.

   Well, some stupid news. We still haven't found an apartment to move into yet. We've looked at a number of apartments, and have even tried moving into 3, but each of the landlords do not agree with our contract. As I said before, we can only use our contract (the church's). They all have said they don't like how it's written or they don't agree with some of the items in it. So, we're still looking. We may also try to look through a different agency. It's been a little frustrating. By the time we got the call from the agency worker saying for the 2nd or 3rd time:" Proprietarul nu ii place contractul vostru" (the landlord doesn't like your contract), we just kinda laughed. I wonder if any landlord will accept our contract here in Craiova. I think our contract is just fine. Anyways, it's been alright with all of us 4 in the same apartment. Oh yeah, the washer does work now and has worked for a little while now, so that's good.

   Missionary work is going. We've been meeting with our 2 main investigators, Alin and Gina. Alin still needs to quit smoking and come to church more, and Gina needs to decide when exactly she wants to be baptized. They're both awesome people. It's been fun working with them. We're trying to find more people through english class, referrals, and bloc knocking. The other elders are going to have a baptism next Saturday. They've been working with an awesome family from Slatina (an hour out of Craiova). The 2 kids were just baptized before I got here, and now the wife is going to be baptized. Cool stuff. The mission got one baptism in Iasi this last week, with a good number of baptismal dates too. President and Sora Hill are doing awesome and I think just got done or are about finished with their mission interview tour. There's nothing big planned concerning mission-wide trips or get-togethers, as far as I know. The transfer's really going fast. It's already been 4 out of the 6 weeks! I feel like I've gotten worse at Romanian in the past few weeks. I think it's because of a lack of quiet study time at my own desk in my own apartment. Also, we haven't been talking to as many people (compared to all the people I talked to in the summer--in parks and such), so I hope I keep doing diligent language studies and get better again.

   Well, that's about all in this neck of the woods. It's good to hear from home. I'm excited for Elder Tyler Lee. He's coming home real soon (like 2 weeks!) I'm excited for the Matts. Hope they love the MTC like I did. Mom, I still hope you get feeling better. I guess it's nice you don't have too much work this week. I hope you enjoy your time off work and start doing your Christmas shopping and all that. Thanks for the pretty pics of Austria and the cute pictures of kitty-Kenadee. I will keep sending you some cool pictures of Craiova.  Tell Miles I say hi and am way excited for him. I wish I could have been at the temple with him and at that Romanian meal! Just tell him that Sora Gorzo (a member) in Bucharest makes the best Romanian food ever! Well, I guess that's all I have to say about that. Va iubesc atat de mult. Have a good week. Mai vorbim. Pa!

Love, Elder Lee