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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter Finally Arrived - Boy Did It Arrive!

Craiova - A Winter Wonderland!

Dear cei care sunt dragii mei:

  Hello! Happy snow day. Craiova got a big bucket of snow dumped on it the other night! There's like a foot or 2 of it! It's fun. I guess it had to come exactly a month later than Xmas. It is pretty. It's also pretty cold. But, it's ok. The dry cold is just giving me chapped knuckles though....did you know your knuckles can get chapped? Uh huh. SO, I put some chap lip stuff on it the other night. I guess it helped. Anyways, it's still going well here. It is a hard city to do missionary work. We try to find people through our own efforts as well as through members. Not many people seem to be ready to accept Christ's gospel, but I know they are out there. The branch is so small, so it's tough to work through members (especially because the Spooners' are American and are not from here). However, the work goes on. It's a lot of fun to be with Elder Abbott. Not much has really happened this last week, besides the snow.

   We've been shoveling some snow by the church villa--getting some service done! It's funny that 2 American guys are shoveling snow in a country not their own. It's been fun. We've been trail-blazing some pathways through some thick snow. We bought some shovels at the nearby piata. Pretty cheap--30 lei, and another one for 18 lei. I'm pretty much completely out of munz (what Elder Abbott and I call money) in my MSF, because I'm still waiting on a 1060 or so ron reimbursement from zone leaders. Luckily, they come on Wednesday night, and they'll both stay here to exchange with us. Dad, I spent some personals on new speakers because my old ones kinda stink. I also bought a new memory card for my camera which costed only 30 lei.

  We don't have too many investigators right now, just Paula, Cristina, and Doru. We haven't been able to meet with a couple of them lately. They're doing well. Paula always comes to church, but needs to stop living with her ex-husband. We'll fast for her and for missionary work next Sunday. We met with Gina a couple of times this last week. She's doing well. Taking tests at school. Recently, we have talked about the temple and church organization with her. This church is organized pretty well, I'd say. It's kinda complicated even. We've also tried meeting with members. Toni and Cristina are both always so busy with their jobs. We visited the Radulescu's. Sora Radulescu made us some of her famous home-made pizza! She also gave us some of her cherry juice she has made with cherries from her backyard (the really good, sweet kind of cherry) Nice. They're doing awesome. Church was good. Elder Abbott spoke on repentance, and Claudia spoke on the scriptures. Yet again, I gave the sunday school lesson. We did it this week on member activation and missionary work. I used good ol' Preach my Gospel and the scriptures. It went well. I really like teaching, especially sunday school classes. It would be a cool calling to have upon returning home.

   So, that's about it. I hope you all had a good week. Mom and dad, hopefully it will rain more if you need it. Enjoy the nice weather. I hope Mark and Jamers like Hawaii and the pro-bowl game. Who won? It's cool that BYU basketball is doing well--better than expected--even if they did lose their last game. I need to go to more basketball games when I get back. I hope Miles is loving the MTC! I did. He will learn so much so fast. It's a great place to learn, teach, and grow into a spiritual giant in a very quick time period. Well, I guess I need to get thinking of what classes I want to do...I don't know! I'll be thinking....It's good everyone is doing well. I'm going to be done now. Have a good one! Mai vorbim! O zi buna!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't Worry Mom - This Isn't Our Mission Car!

I'm Still Working Hard In Craiova!

Dear Friends and Family:

  Hello! It's Elder Lee. How goes it? It goes well in Craiova. It's almost February! Things are as usual here in the city. No snow yet. I heard it finally snowed in Utah (at least Provo/Orem area) I guess the winter will never really come...Oh yeah, it did snow for a few minutes or more during church yesterday, but it immediately melted. Missionary work is going. We had a good week. We had a lesson with Doru (a long-time investigator) at the Spooner's. It was great. We talked about how important the BOM is, and that God does answer us when seeking to find out if it's true. We visited the Panduru's and acted out the brass plates story with the kids! They liked it. We have just been doing a lot of villas and blocs when it's night time. Elder Abbott and I are still getting along well and enjoying our time together. It's easy to get discouraged and lose a strong motivation to work hard. However, it's a great experience to find people who are ready to accept Jesus Christ's gospel.

   The week went fast! Oh yeah, we had a guitar in our apartment without strings and asked President Hill if we could string it and play it on P-days. He granted us permission, and so now we have a guitar to play every once in a while! We thought it would be something good to keep us motivated when we are, at times, discouraged. It's fun to play it. I think I remember all the chords...We have institute at the Spooners' every Thursday evening, and Sora Spooner is the teacher. No one really comes, except Doru and Fratele Radulescu, however, it's cool. We talked about Joseph in the Old Testament.  Hopefully, we can get more people to come. Gina's busy with exams, so she hasn't been able to come recently, but she's doing well. The branch is doing fine, just few that come every week. Our prime investigator is Paula, and she even wants to be baptized! However, she can't be living in the same apartment as her ex-husband and be baptized. So, we're trying to pray for her and hope there will be a way for her to solve that situation and eventually be baptized.

   English started again. We're doing beginners on Tuesday and Saturday and advanced on Wednesday and Saturday. It's sorta poorly attended, advanced, at least. We have about 6 - 8 beginner students. So far, the classes have gone well. We didn't really have enough time to get all the english ad cards out in just a week, being only two missionaries. We may have to wait until March now, to get new missionaries in Craiova. So, we're being patient! Church yesterday was good. It was a little crazy for me, because I gave a talk, and also had to translate for Sora Spooner, who also gave a talk. Usually Toni translates, but he didn't come! So, I tried to translate. I'm pretty bad at it. There were some tough words in her talk, but it was fun and a good experience to translate a whole talk (really, for the first time). My talk was about repentance. Again, Cristina (the sunday school teacher) didn't come because she's got a new busy work schedule. So, it was up to us missionaries to teach the lesson. We also still don't have the BOM sunday school manuals. yay! Elder Abbott taught the lesson and we talked about Lehi leaving Jerusalem and Nephi and his brothers getting the brass plates. It was a good lesson.

   Anyways, that's about it in this neck of the woods (I always used to like how Al Roker would always use that phrase on the Today show). It's good to hear from home. Mom and dad, those are some cool shutters. The family room looks a lot better! Dad, I sent that email off to BYU admissions (I copied and pasted your suggestion email), so hopefully, things get taken care of. Thanks for the help. I hope Chris and Liz are staying busy and I hope Jamie and Mark have a good time in Hawaii soon. I'm excited for Miles to be starting his mission in a few days! He'll love it. I wonder in which city he will begin his mission (after Provo, obviously). Thanks, mom, for sending me a Valentine package. I lurve you! Well, I'm out of things to say. Have a great week, and we'll talk later! La revedere!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's the Middle of January and Still No Snow!

Dear friends and family and anyone else:

  Well, hello. Good Monday. How's your January going? Ours here in Craiova is going. Not much really happened this week. January's already half-way done. Elder Abbott and I are gettin' along well. We are enjoying the days that we feel pumped and talk to lots of people, and we are also trying to stay encouraged when those days come where we wonder, "man, it's kinda hard with just us two and not a lot of people want to listen to us and it's cold..." However, we are always trying to do our best and love the city and people. It's been really fun here with Elder Abbott.

   In terms of missionary work, things kinda picked up a little. We visited more members: the Radulescu's, Toni, and Viorel. We're trying to stay true to our zone goal of 3 member referrals per week. Well, so far, we got one from Viorel! He has a friend and he gave us her number. We set up to meet, but she didn't show up. However, we will call her again in a few days. It's nice to visit members and help them to help us as well as their friends who need the gospel. It's also just been a lot of street contacting and villa knocking. It's going well. It's pretty chilly, but there's no snow. Rumor has it that it may snow tomorrow or some day this week. We'll see. Soon, it's already going to be February and there may not be snow!

  We had a good time at interviews. President and Sora Hill and the AP's are doing well. The AP's seemed kinda tired. They had been traveling in the west part of the mission before they got to Craiova. It was nice to see them and talk about stuff. Dad, I talked to Pres. Hill about leaving earlier for BYU Fall semester and he told me that everyone in my group/those who leave around the time I go home who will start school will most likely go early. In fact, he encourages the notion of leaving early to get back to school quick. So, I will probably do so. He said he could have us all easily go home a few days or a week or two early to get back to school (Elders Fonnesbeck, Schroeder, Pettit, Nilsson are those who would probably be going back to BYU). So, I guess that means I have to think of what classes I want to take soon. Hmm, I have no idea! I'll need to get thinking!

   We had a good sacrament meeting. We finally had 2 investigators come! Paula and Cristina. We'll meet with Paula this week on Thursday and hopefully we can meet Cristina too. It was pretty well-attended, like 8 to 10 members. Fratele Baldea ( I think) came from Pitesti to give a talk. He's in the district high council or something. He gave a cool talk on keeping the commandments and receiving the blessings that come. It was very loud and enthusiastic and fiery! He's a good speaker. I gave the priesthood lesson, using the General Conference Liahona. I used the "Personal Revelation and Testimony" talk by Barbara Thompson. It went well. I like teaching using GenCon talks. It's like the 5th lesson we've had to "wing" because those who teach sometimes don't make it to church, so at the last minute, the lesson falls to the missionaries!  It's fun. It's good practice for teaching, but maybe not for planning lessons.

   I think that's all I have. How are you family and friends? It seem like you had a good week. Mom, I'm sorry that you had to be at the hospital. I hope your sinuses get better and that everything's ok. Thanks for your email. I like the new door. It's pretty fancy. Maybe now you need a new doorbell. Or a new paint job. Do you guys still like the good old blue look? I hope work is going well for you guys. It's nice to hear about Miles' farewell talk. I'm excited for him. We'll see each other soon. That's also exciting for Mark and Jamie, going to Hawaii! Hope they love it there! Hmm, anything else? I hope Chris and Liz are doing well. Well, I guess that's about it. Mom and dad, you should figure out how to send me pics of BYU days from my Facebook through your emails to me! It shouldn't be too hard. Cool, I'm basically done for today's email. Have a good week and mai vorbim, bine? Ciao ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, January 9, 2012

Still No Snow this Winter . . . . but we're still having fun!

16 months and counting . . . . the time is flying by!

Dear those who will read this:

   Hello. Happy January 9th Day! There's nothing special about January 9th. However, yesterday, January 8th, was Elder Lee's 16 month mark of his mission. Time flew (that's a personification). It's been a fun mission. I've learned so much, and still have 8 months to learn more, and more importantly, help more people come unto Christ through the restored gospel. Now with 2012 underway, missionary work will hopefully be awesome! This last week, it was sort of a bummer, because none of our investigators met with us. It's the week after Holidays, but still, I guess, our investigators do not answer their phones or want to come to church. I hope they're doing well, especially those who were progressing the most (like Paula). However, Elder Abbott and I are still feeling happy and getting along well. This last week, all we got (in terms of key indicators) was one RCLA lesson. Elder Abbott and I still think we had a good week though, because we worked hard at contacting and finding people on the streets, in villas, and in blocs. We have found a handful of cool people, with a lesson set up with a man named Ioan this Wednesday. It's a little disappointing to see our investigators drop off the planet, but it's nice to have time to dedicate myself to contacting, and more generally, to do more of something that requires diligence and motivation.

   There's not much new. We have President and Sora Hill and the AP's coming Wednesday for interviews. Should be fun. Craiova still has no snow. It hasn't snowed at all so far this year. It feels pretty cool outside, but it's really not too cold at all. It's nice I guess. It was fun last P-day to ice skate. Now we're back to P-days here in Craiova, as a 2-man city. There's not much to do. We went to Buc last Wednesday for transfers to get some supplies and get reimbursed for all our train tickets. It was good to see a number of missionaries. There are a lot of new sisters now. The new group that just got in the country consists of I think one elder, and 2 sisters. I'm getting old in the mission. There are only 12 missionaries older than me now! Elder Abbott and I recently cleaned our apartment. He spent some time getting all the mold cleaned off our bathroom ceiling. Yum! The apartment looks better now. We had some lunch and shared a spiritual thought with Alin and his wife (from Constanta) at his mom's house. She was working, but they still invited us over. I tried some piftie (the jello-y, usually pig-parts stuff)! It had chicken and carrots in it, so it was alright. I just didn't quite approve of the jello part though. Jello should be sweet and fruity, not garlicy and chickeny. We had a good weekly planning and set some good goals--namely, to fulfill our zone goal by getting 3 member referrals a week, to talk to 10 people outside of blocs and villas a day, to speak Romanian all the time outside the apartment, to get 3 baptisms. The Spooner's are back. Sora Spooner has a cold and doesn't feel too well, but Bro. Spooner is fine. We've already had two good meetings, talking about the branch and missionary work. We're happy for them to be back.

  I hope things are going well at home. I guess you guys are having a pretty warm January! Is global warming happening dad? How's the front door? How's your Kindle, mom? I hear Chris is back to work and is going to co-author a book or something, and that he's going to Dartmouth this summer for some fancy seminar. Congrats. Seems like he and Liz are doing well. That would be cool for Jamie and Mark to go to Hawaii. I still have never been there. I hope all the rest of the missionaries are doing well out there. Miles is getting ready to go into the MTC soon! I hope he's getting excited. I am. You'll have to tell me how his farewell goes. So, I guess I'll have to be thinking about going to BYU this fall. Thanks for the notice dad. I'll be thinking. If Chris says so, maybe it would be good to get right back into school. Well, I'm about done. Hope you all have a good week. Mă iubiţi şi vă iubesc! Vreau ca voi toţi să aveţi o săptămână cât mai bună şi să ştiţi că e un an nou. Trebuie să vă estabiliţi ţelurile şi să le îndepliniţi! Domnul să fie cu voi, dragii mei! La revedere!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Dear those who are loved ones:

   Happy new year! Hope you all had a great one. Elder Abbott and I did. We did a little street contacting, until it got way foggy. We just went back home at like 6 or 630, because the streets were empty (not to mention creepy, because you can't see anything). We just watched Tangled again, and sat around. It was fast Sunday too, so we were fasting. I got a cold. I felt a little cruddy on New Year's, however I feel a little better today. It was fun to sit around, hear the fireworks (couldn't see them though). It was like last year in Bacau; it sounded like a complete war zone! I felt sad for all the street dogs probably running around like crazy in the dense fog with explosions going off all over the place. Take cover! Elder Abbott and I entertained ourselves by attaching firecrackers to army men-parachute toys and throwing them off the balcony! We had an hour of church on New Year's day, and it was just us, the Radulescu's, Doru, and......President Alin Constantinescu from Constanta (the Anaconda guy) with his wife, baby daughter, and bro-in-law! They were visiting Craiova because his mom lives here. It was good to see them again. I think they kinda remembered me. It's almost been a year since then...

   So yeah, it was a fun New Year. We actually are in Buc today (like every other P-day). We went to Alexandria last night to sleepover with Elders Horgmo and Benson, then we all went together to Buc. We want to ice skate with everyone! It should be fun. OH YEAH! Transfers! SO, here's what's happening.....nothing! Elder Abbott and I are staying in Craiova. President Hill wants to put sisters in, but it won't happen until February. So, it'll still be a 2-man extravaganza! I'm happy to stay another one. Pres. Spooner and his wife are coming back in a couple of days. There weren't any big changes in the mission for transfers. A couple of elders in my group are done being zone leaders. I can't remember how many baptisms the mission got this last week, but apparently, there were a little over 100 baptisms for the whole year. Elder Abbott and I have no baptismal dates now.

  Missionary work kinda slowed down during the holiday week. None of our investigators could meet with us. We got a return appointment with a really nice, older lady and her husband in their bloc! We're trying to do better at street contacting (asking a lot of good starting-out questions). We made a sweet origami fortune-teller thing (you know...those one things...) and put lots of questions in it. We're gonna start using it in our contacting (if we're brave enough). Should be fun. Craiova is doing well. Still no snow. Nothing really new. It's just a new year, that's all. I'll be starting my 11th transfer! I have only 8 months left. I finished my Whole-Year-In-Romania year! It went really, really fast.

  Well, that's about it for me. Mom and dad, I'm glad you had a fun Christmas and New Years. It was fun to talk on Skype. You should email me pics of the new door and blinds and all that! Does it look fancy now? How are you liking your Kindle mom? Thanks for all the stuff you sent me! I hope Chris and Liz enjoyed their stay. I wonder why Chris didn't like your food mom. I always love it. Especially my fav--the bbq pork red sauce stuff with twice-baked taters! Yumm. I hope you're starting 2012 well. I love you all. I guess I'm done. We'll talk later. Happy 2012! Bye bye now!

Love, Elder Lee