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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Craiova!

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends:

  Ho Ho Ho! Guess what happened? Christmas happened! Yay! Craciun Fericit! Sper ca voi toti ati avut un craciun asa de frumos! I did! It's that time of year again. I remember my first Christmas here in the country. Had a good time in Bacau with Elder Gunter. It was snowy and cold. We went to Chisinau, caroled at a few less-active members, gave them brownies, had good food. It's been a year since then. This Christmas has been really enjoyable. Elder Abbott and I had a great time on Christmas, even though we're alone in Craiova. It started on Friday night with the Buc Xmas party! On the train ride there, there was snow out in la tara! However, there was no snow in Buc. Or here in Craiova...But the party was super fun.

  We started with a tie and scarf exchange (well, after I went to a little leadership meeting with district and zone leaders first). I ended up with a cheesy holiday tie (that was proudly worn on Christmas day a couple days later). Then we had free time to chill, ate some snacks and stuff. A few of us went outside to carol for a few minutes before dinner. Dinner was a feast. We got turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, jello, A&W Root Beer, dessert....Headed into the chapel to view the mission dvd slideshow. There were  tons of super cool and funny pictures sent in by all the missionaries and put together by the office elders. Finished with a testimony meeting. Had a sleepover with Elder Bateman and his comp, Elder Doloscan (from Moldova). The next day, we trained it back to Craiova. I opened a few letters from awesome friends. Thanks Bro. Ririe, the Mellor's and all you who sent me letters. They are hugely appreciated. We wrapped each other packages (which made it feel a lot more like christmas--you know, the wrapped up gifts and excitement of opening them). We made another caroling visit to the Panduru's. Florin, the father was visiting from his work in Italy. We gave them cookies and shirts Elder Gauthier left for them. We went and bought a movie (don't worry, President Hill gave us permission to view an animated movie for the holidays) Elder Abbott and I got "Tangled"- the one about Rapunzel. It was pretty funny, and nice to just watch a movie.

  Christmas morning! We also got permission to sleep in til 8. So, we did so gladly. Went to church. It was just us 2, the Radulescu's, and 2 nonmembers that always come, but don't really want to be investigators. It was a good meeting. I lead the music now (I learned how to do it, it's pretty fun) We sang Christmas hymns. I gave a little talk using Helaman ch. 14 --another witness of Christ's birth and divinity. I also shared Moroni 10:32. Christmas is really a good time to help us perfect our faith in Christ, and as members of His church, we get the blessing of doing this every single day through the covenants we make and through His restored Gospel. Yay! The Radulescu's had us over for a Christmas meal- ciorba, salata de beouf, sarmale, and a super good cheese pastry dessert, cooked by Sora Radulescu. Went home to open our presents! I really enjoy all my gifts! Thanks Rod and Kaye for the tie and shirt and thanks mom and dad for all the stuff in that package! I really dig the In-n-Out shirt! We chilled in our apartment, and just enjoyed the time of Christmas day. Still no snow in Craiova though...but that's fine.

  So, yeah, I've had a great one. I hope you all had a good one too. I look forward to skyping tonight mom and dad. Be ready! Thanks for your love and support and all. I hope you're enjoying the time you have with Chris and Liz. I'm having a fun time with Elder Abbott in Craiova! That's about it, I guess. I love y'all. Have a good week. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, December 19, 2011

Isn't Christmas just about here?

I'm Dreaming of a White (Romanian) Christmas!

To Whom It May Concern:

   Good Monday! It's time for another letter from Elder Lee. Let's see what's new....Well, it's almost Christmas. I think we all know that. It looks like Elder Abbott will just be chillin' here in Craiova on Christmas Sunday. We have an hour of church on Christmas--standard procedure, I guess. We'll be in Buc on Friday for our party. It'll be fun. We leave Friday morning. So, dad, it says it's gonna snow here later this week? That would be cool. I like snow. I don't want my last Christmas in Romania to be without that pretty white fluffiness all over. So, it's been a good week. Nothing of too much noteworthiness took place. Like I said last week, Elder Abbott and I were in Buc for P-day. Also, on Wednesday and Thursday, we had exchanges with Elder Pettit and Elder Johnsen, our ZLs. They came down, and I stayed with Elder Pettit for 2 days here, while Elder Abbott and Elder Johnsen returned to Bucharest. I had a good time with Elder Pettit. We did some villa-knocking, bloc-knocking, met with a couple members, Sora Panduru and Ileana, and had a cool lesson with Paula (Gina was there too). We wee glad to meet Paula after some time of no contact. We really focused on her and followed up on her BOM reading and praying. She hadn'e read for a 2 week period. We basically talked again about the importance of the BOM and testified that as she does her part, God will do His part. He will answer. She just has to knock with faith. She is now reading more from the BOM and came to church again. Gina and her are friends and we're grateful for Gina's help. Otherwise, our other investigators, Daniela, Cosmina, Dani, and Simona just need to be met with! Elder Pettit is a great zone leader and we talked about zone goals and such. We took a train back to Buc (nearly missed it, if it wasn't for our crazy taxi driver who sped past traffic by going in the opposite lane!) We made it into the train just seconds before it took off! We stayed at their apt and then Elder Abbott and I took yet another train back to Craiova the next morning. It was completely full of people! I don't get how or why they'd sell all those tickets for a train that was filled past occupancy! We had to stand for half of the trip. Luckily, two guys got off at a city before Craiova, and Elder Abbott and I stole their seats and were able to sit for the second half. Fun!

   We did meet with Simona the other night. So, she is actually Sora Gorzo's niece! When Elder Veenendaal was here, Sora Gorzo called him and asked if they could make a visit to her (she lives in Craiova and teaches at some school out of town) Elder Abbott and him went and shared a spiritual thought. Us 2 went to her the other night and had a full Restoration lesson, and invited her to read the BOM and pray. She already knows a little about the church. It was cool. She's going to Cluj for the Holidays, so we hope to keep in touch. Everyone else is doing well. The Spooner's are in America for the Holidays, yet, we still had a good church. A member from the District Presidency in Buc came and spoke. Elder Abbott and I taught Priesthood- we talked about Desire by Elder Oaks. It's actually fun teaching out of thew GenCon Liahonas. I love using quotes from living Apostles in lessons!

  Not too much else happened. Everything is going well. I'm excited for Christmas and New Years. Elder Abbott and I are having fun and we get along really well. So, a little more about him: He's from Orem, Utah. He's a swimmer; did swimming in high school (at Orem High I think). He did a year at BYU before his mission (stayed at Helaman Halls). He's in his 4th transfer. He started his mission in Deva, with Elder Hyatt as he trainer. He's in the same group as Elder Jones, in fact, they were MTC companions. He's a smart guy and just super easy to get along with. We're having a good time together in Craiova.

  Thanks for the news from home, mom and dad. I still haven't gotten the package yet mom, but I should at the party in Buc on Friday. I got a package from the Poulsons though! I don't know what exactly it is though, because Elder Abbott took the contents out and wrapped them as gifts and put them under our Xmas tree. Yeah, we have a "tree", you see, it's made out of green construction paper. Elder Abbott's family sent it to him complete with paper ornaments. We bought some lights at the piata for 7 lei and taped them on the tree. Lookin' pretty! As for the Skype stuff, I tried getting on my Skype, but it's not letting me in. I'm pretty sure my name is "XretrohouseX" or something. I guess I forgot the password too. It still didn't let me on after doing the "forgot your password?" stuff, so I don't know. I'll keep trying. What's your name on skype mom and dad? I guess I may send you guys an email sometime this week if I have to, to get things finalized. Monday (the 26th) night at 7 pm Craiova time works better for Elder Abbott's family, so would that be fine? If not, then Saturday at 7 pm Craiova time. We'll keep in email touch this week if we have to. Be ready for any possible emails from me before Skype will happen, ok? Well, I guess that's it. I hope you guys have a great week. Merry Christmas! Craciun Fericit! We'll talk. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'll be in Craiova for Christmas!

Back to only us two missionaries in Craiova

Dear Dragii Mei:

   Good morning! It's Elder Lee, like always. Have you had a good week? I have. Craiova's been treating me well. It was Elder Veenendaal's last week of his mission! It has been fun serving around him again for 3 more weeks. He'll be flying home early for Christmas on Wednesday morning. I'll miss him. He was my office elder when I first came in. It's sad to say bye to awesome missionaries. We had fun living together in the same apartment, but I'm about ready to have 2 guys in an apartment again! So, Elder Rasmussen will be going to Galati with Elder Kebker. I'll stay in Craiova with Elder Abbott! Time for some 2-man madness. I'm excited to stay here with him. We love each other. We both came to Craiova October 12th. We hope to do some good work together! I know we'll have a great time and do a lot of work. I want to do a lot of work! The weather in Craiova is actually like September weather! It's been sunny and a little cloudy and wet, and not that cold. There is no snow at all yet. It's the middle of December. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Where is my white Christmas!?! Maybe it will snow in a week or two. We're going to have the Christmas party in Buc on the 23rd. It'll be fun: tie and scarf exchange (white elephant style), dinner, the mission dvd with pics, dinner, and fireside. I'll get to stay the night at Elder Bateman's apartment! I'm looking forward to that.

   Right now, I'm actually in Buc. Elder Abbott and I are spending most of our p-day here. The reason is because last night, as we dropped off Elders Rasmussen and Veenendaal at the gara in Craiova, they they realized they forgot to bring the woodcarvings!(done for some missionaries going home by Ninel, a cool carver guy in Craiova that lots of missionaries work with to get temples and stuff carved into wood, pretty cool stuff) Their train was to leave in ten minutes. Elder Abbott and I booked it back to the apartment and picked them up, but the taxi guy was too slow, and we missed their train! They needed to bring those to Buc by the end of Tuesday. So, Elder Abbott and I decided to just come here early in the morning by maxi taxi with the carvings and get them to the office. We got to say bye to Elder Veenendaal one last time. The last thing he said to us before their train left was "GET THE WOODCARVINGS! HURRY!" haha. So, we're here at internet. We actually are going to have a lesson at The Petria family on the way back to Craiova in Slatina tonight(nearby Craiova). They're the super awesome family in which the wife and kids recently got baptized. So, it should be a good day. The branch is doing well. Gina's still strong, and we met Alexandru, trying to get him to church. He just doesn't want to least now. There are a lot of members Elder Abbott and I should visit and help come back to church. Our investigator  Paula has not been able to meet the past 2 times and hasn't answered her phone the past few times I've called. So, we need to find more people!!! Mainly, through english class!

   The apartment in Craiova is so much more quiet. It's weird. Elder Abbott and I feel like empty-nesters. It'll be so good to have quietness and not so much of a mess. We got inspected by the Panduri senior couple, the Wahlquists yesterday. They came to church in Craiova and gave awesome talks. Elder Wahlquist spoke on how when he was a 7 year old boy, he lived on a farm with cows and chickens and stuff, including a bull. His mom taught him never to ran away from a bull if it were ever to chase him, but rather to run towards it. One day, he was walking back from milking the cows, looked back, and noticed it chasing him! So, he did what his mom taught him because he trusted her. He ran towards it, and it went around him, because it was merely running trying to catch up with the cows. He likened the experience unto us, trusting in God and His commandments and then doing them. Good talk. It'll be kinda more lonely in Craiova also because Brother Spooner is leaving to be home with his family for the holidays. He's leaving in like 3 days and won't be back until January 2nd. So, it's looking like a skype call wouldn't happen at their place. I don't know if other members have internet, but I know the internet cafe we use has computers with webcams. I assume we'd do the call on Saturday, Dec. 24th or Monday the 26th, maybe 7 at night (Craiova time) or something. Stay tuned for the exacts.

   That's about it for me in my neck of the woods. I hope you guys are doing well. It's good to hear that you're all doing awesome. Hope you're excited for Christmas. Mom, have you been doing a lot of shopping? I'm glad you did well singing for the Christmas deal. How are things at church and work mom and dad? I wonder if Tyler will be married by the time I get back. Now that would be weird. Congrats BYU football for ending an ok season with a good game. No more Jake Heaps? I'll be looking forward to hear how BYU basketball does. It's good all my missionary pals are loving their missions. We were in the mission office earlier this morning, and I looked at the "Incoming Missionaries" packet thing. I found Miles!!!! I can't wait to see him. Well, I'm about done. Have a festively good week and think about Christ! Mai vorbim. Va iubesc! Have a good week. Pa!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feeling a bit like Christmas in Craiova

Craiova - City of Marvels

Dear loved ones,

   Good Monday! Today is December 5th, 2011. It's almost 2012. That's weird. What also is weird is that it's been a little warm here the past few days (12-18 degrees today). It's nice, I guess! Well, I have been doing well in Craiova, City of Marvels. The past week was alright. We were kinda lacking in lessons. We have only one progressing investigator, Paula, but she was too busy to meet with us the whole week. Luckily, she came to church and we set up with her there to meet this week. She's really cool, and I hope she's been able to read and pray about the BOM. She and Gina are kinda friends now, after chatting together in church. Gina was confirmed a member of the church in Sacrament meeting yesterday. It was cool. Elder Rasmussen gave her the Holy Ghost and a blessing. She was happy to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It's a pretty good gift I guess (Oh yeah mom, she told me about your chat on FB!). Church was cool. We had a couple of inactive members come! It was nice to see them and meet one of them for the first time.

   Saturday night was our branch Christmas party. It was pretty fun. We had a good number of people there (lots of our favorite english students came). We watched "Joy to the World", had some food and suc, and played a couple games: Christmas pictionary and Ninja! Bro Spooner held it earlier so he could come, because he's going home for the Holidays in a week or so. I'd say it was a success. Wednesday was Elder Veenedaal's birthday, so we went out to a place called Bulevard and got some good pizza. It was super thin crust, almost like a pizza quesadilla! We also got smoothies there that were super good. I ordered "Red Orange Magic" and when I got it, it was green! I don't know how that happened, but it was delish anyhow. Elder Rasmussen kinda felt sick that day, so he didn't eat anything. It may have been because of the curry rice and chicken we made for lunch the previous day. Mmmm...curry....While he was resting in the apartment for the evening, I was able to watch some general conference. I love Tad R. Callister's talk on the BOM. Short, blunt, and to-the-point. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God, exactly as it professes to be. It is a 2nd witness of Christ's divinity. It is a completely true book. It helps us understand what the Bible does not explain clearly. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so he's still talking to us today. If you want to find proof of that, read the BOM. If you want to really understand what Christ did for you and come to know Him more than you ever could otherwise, read the BOM. I know these things for myself. It's a pretty cool book.

   Anyways, nothing else is really new. Elder Veenendaal goes home in a week and a half, and then it will be a 2-man city. The mission got 2 baptisms this last week and there are about 20 baptismal dates mission-wide. We found out when we'll have the Christmas zone party deal. Both Bucharest zones will meet on Dec. 23rd in Buc. Thanks mom for the Xmas package. Maye I'll get it there, at the party.  Thanks for the fun pictures. I wish I coulda been there at the airport to see Tyler. I guess he's already bored out of his mind? Haha. I wonder who that missionary was that Sister McClaine saw in Paris. Maybe it was Elder Gauthier? But he just left a few days ago. I can't seem to think who it'd be. I hope both the Matthew Elders are doing well and loving their missions. I'm still excited to see Miles soon...Oh yeah, I heard that there might be a problem with Wells Fargo cards working here. Elder Abbott had a problem with his and said the bank shut off all their cards in Romania or Europe or something. Dad, maybe you know anything about it? I haven't tried using my Wells Fargo card in a while, so I'm not quite sure if it will work or not. Anyways. I'm about done I guess. Hope you all have a good week. Soon, we can start singing the 12 days of Christmas. Ok, toodles for now!

Love, Elder Lee