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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Had a great time visiting Moldova - Enjoyed Jaffa Juice!

Farewell to February - It's been a busy month!

Dear Iubitilor:

  Good Monday! How are you today? President Lee is doing fine. Bacau is doing fine. The weather has warmed up a little, but in the last 2 days kinda got cooler. A lot of snow is melting, but there's still so much. It's all slushy and wet in the daytime, but it kinda freezes over a little bit again during the night. It's almost March, which also means it's almost my year and a half mark! I've been out here for a while now, and I've loved it. I'm going to have to get ready to come home and get back into school soon. The months go by too fast. Well, this past week was a good one. It was kinda a tiring one too.

  So, we had both zone conference and branch conference this week. Not much happened earlier in the week, except that we met with Sava--the guy who has stopped smoking through the stop-smoking program. We tried to teach him the Restoration. It went ok. He's a talker, and it took a while to get through it. By the end, I was kinda getting a bit frustrated because of how long it took us. Also, I don't think he really understood much of it. But, we did a good job letting him know why we're here and why it matters so much that we believe in the BOM and the restored Gospel. On Thursday, we left on a maxi taxi to Iasi (on our way to Chisinau for zone conference). It was a fun day, just a lot of sitting. We met up with the Iasi missionaries and all travelled across the border to Moldova (for the second time for me). We got to Chisinau and slept in a hotel. The district and zone leaders had a leadership meeting that night, which left only Elder Jones and I at the hotel. So, we went out and got some dinner! We also got some "Jaffa" juice, which is probably the most real and tasty juice ever. Their pomegranite juice, for example, actually tastes like the sweet, sour, bitter seeds you find in a real pomegranite. We had a great zone conference and heard things about prayer, member work, and baptismal invitations. We looked at the piata real quick before leaving. I kinda wanted a caciula (the big dead rabbit hat you wear on your head in the winter) but didn't find one. So, we left by maxi taxi again to Iasi, where we stayed in a super nice Ramada hotel there for the night. Iasi is a cool city! I'd like to serve there (but probably have not enough time left in my mission). It's got billions of churches and tons of hills. It's pretty.

   So, we finally got back to Bacau and were pretty wiped out. We then had to start preparing for our Bacau brach conference. We met with Pres. Chirila (1st Counselor in the Mission District) as well as the Heningers (a senior couple here now moving to Brasov). We went over the program and all. It turned out to be a great conference. We had 9 members come, and 6 total visitors. It was only my 2nd Sunday as BP here, and I had to conduct it all, get sustained as branch president, give a talk, and do the sustaining of church officials thingy (where you go through the list of...."it is proposed that we sustain Thomas Spencer Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator of The Church"....etc) It was pretty fun! It was a spiritual meeting and I'm thankful and happy that I did a good job and that we felt the spirit. I talked on revelation through scripture study, using Elder Scott's general conference talk on scriptures. I stressed the importance that scriptures are tools, that need to be used or else they provide us no benefit. If you have a hammer and nail and you need to build something, you probably need to use the hammer, or else you'll have a hard time. We split up into Priesthood and Relief Society, with the Heningers teaching both. As usual, we did the branch treaba after church like we always do: attendance, finances, faxed stuff, etc.

   So, yeah, it was a cool week. Now, I'm jut waiting for the other conference of this church....General Conference! It's coming soon, like another month. It'll be cool. I want to go to general conference when  get home. It's one of the coolest things in the world. Elder Peterson and I are doing well and having a good time in Bacau. Everything else is just about the same, and going well.

   It's good to hear that everything at home is going well. I hope Chris and Liz get going on their soon-to-be house and all. I'm excited to find out where all the Redlands 2nd Ward guys are going to go on their missions. Hopefully they're ready! I think the best way to be ready is to love reading the BOM! You can know you are ready when you are happy in the MTC. Anyways, I'll be going I guess. Dad, keep me up to speed on the BYU priority registration date. Thanks for your prayers in my behalf and in behalf of the Bacau branch. I hope to keep doing a good job. Have a good week! Mai vorbim. La revedere.

Love, President Lee 

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Snow is finally melting - just not fast enough!

Back in Bacau - I've come full circle!

Dear loved ones:

   Hello. It's Elder Lee/President Lee. I hope you have had a good week. I have. I'm back in Bacau! It's about the same as a I remember. The huge Orthodox church is a lot more finished, but still not finished. It's been a little warmer lately. The snow has melted, but there is still a lot of snow. Being back brings back fun memories with Elder Gunter as a boboc. I still think it's funny (and a little weird) that I'm back as the BP. My companion, Elder Peterson, is very cool. He lived in my apartment when he was a boboc in Buc (with Elder Bateman). So, we already know each other. He's from Bluffdale, Utah. He went to school at Utah State. He's a runner and has done track at school and growing up. He is in his 5th transfer. He's only been in Buc and here in Bacau. We get along well.

   He also knows all the things I need to do as BP (like making calendars, conducting sacrament, finances, and other things). He showed me everything important in my office. Yeah, that's right, I have my own office! Things are going well. It's not so overwhelming (I've served with two branch presidents previously in my mission, so I kinda know what's up). The branch is still super tiny. At church yesterday, only Alin, Daniel, and Sora Dragomir came. Alin is the one that always calls me "Bruce Lee". He's a good member. Daniel is one of my good friends I met when I was last here. He was baptized last year in November. He's super cool. Sora Dragomir is super nice and always comes to church. We had a few members not come who were assigned to give talks and the sunday school lesson, so Elder Peterson and I both gave talks and gave the Sunday School lesson. Kinda like Craiova days, right?

  We have a few cool investigators right now. So far, I have only met Iulian and Maria, a cool couple that live near us. Elders Farr and Fonnesbeck (or Herman...) found them and began teaching them. They know english and are super nice. We committed them to work towards a baptismal goal on March 31st! They are trying to quit smoking and keep reading the BOM. Before I got here, the missionaries have done a stop-smoking program, so we gave them a paper with 15 steps to stop smoking. Apparently, it's a very succesful program. We also have a couple other investigators named Iulia and Ionela, but I haven't met them yet.

  This week, we will be going to Chisinau! We're having zone conference up there on Friday. It will be cool to go up and see it again. Elder Jones is serving in Iasi now, so we'll be able to see each other too. Also, there will be a branch conference next Sunday, and Pres. Chirila (the first counselor in the Mission District) will come down. Should be cool. That's kinda all the big news around here. I'm just getting used to the fact that I'll be here for a while probably. I just hope something can change with this branch and that I can do something for it.

  It's good to hear all the news from home, especially about Tyler and Chelsea. I knew it was coming (for real). Congrats to them!
Too bad I won't get to be there to be Tyler's best man. It's kinda weird to me how he'll already be married when I get back...It's also cool that Chris and Liz are going to move into a house soon. Saratoga Springs? How is it over there? Got a view of Utah Lake? Sounds nice I guess. I hope everything goes well with that. Mom and dad, yes, I got the Valentine's package. Thanks a ton! I also got a package from The Harless's. Thanks! So, yeah. It's getting a bit warmer, and I'm getting used to being a BP. It's a neat opportunity, and I know it will be tough. But, I know I will learn things that I yet need to learn by being here and doing this. I'm pretty much done for today. Have a good week. Mai vorbim! Ciao!

Love, President Lee (P.S. I ordered a "Presedintele Lee" nametag. Should be cool to wear it!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two More Feet of Snow This Week - I hope I make It To Bacau!

Back in Bacau!

Dear loved ones:

   Howdy! How are you all? I'm doing well. Just having a blast in the craziest winter Eastern Europe has seen in a long time. So I hear that the Danube River is frozen, and even the Black Sea is partially frozen. It's sad that there have been deaths due to exposure in the cold. I have been safe here in Craiova. It has snowed without end for a couple days now. It is about 2 or so feet of snow! It's cold, but I am sporting the Ecco boots and "Thermasilk" thermals (as well as my other pair) and I'm staying nice and warm. It's been a good week with Elder Abbott. We had ZL exchanges finally! I got to be with Elder Johnsen one last day. He's going home in 2 days. It was a good exchange. We knocked blocs, had Celentano pizza for lunch, and had a nice visit at the Radulescu's. Oh yeah, I also got a pretty big phone call from President Hill: "Hello!" "Hey President, this is Elder Lee, how are you?" "I'm doing well, you?" "good, just on exchange with Elder Johnsen and all" "Cool. Well, I'm calling you because we'd like you to be the new branch president in Bacau!" "Oh, sweet (I guess). Yeah, I'll do it!" "Ok, we'd like you to go there and see what you can do with the branch there...." "Sure, I'll see what I can do, I guess" So yeah, I'll be going back to Bacau as the new Branch President! I'll be serving with Elder Peterson (with whom I served in Buc in the summer--he's super cool) Elder Bruner (the current BP there) is finally done, after 8 long months of service there! He'll be going to Brasov, so now it's my turn to be in his place. I guess I was pretty surprised, but I had considered the possibility of going there earlier. For some reason, I felt totally fine with the phone call and with saying "yeah, I'll do it". So, I guess the boboc is going back to be the branch president. How poetic.

   Transfers are pretty crazy this transfer. Elder Abbott is actually leaving to Pitesti (to be with Elder Bateman). So we're whitewashing Craiova. Elders Finch and Staheli will be coming here. The zones are kinda changed too a bit. Bucharest will be its own zone (including Panduri, Mihai Bravu, Craiova, and Alexandria). There will now be Ploiesti Zone (including Ploiesti, Pitesti, Constanta, and Brasov) Deva is now in the Sibiu zone. The Bacau Zone is now the Iasi Zone. You know what that means? The zone leaders are leaving Bacau to be in Iasi now. That also means that Bacau is now a 2-man city! It will be only Elder Peterson and me. More 2-man city antics for me! Lots of changes eh? That's what keeps my mission exciting! It's really been a roller coaster ride since I started. There will be 3 bobocs coming in-- Elders Newton, Nelson, and Schroedter will be training them in Oradea, Sibiu, and Buc. Elder Simmons is the new AP now. He's a cool elder.

   So yeah, everybody can call me President now. I am excited to go back and see things in Bacau again. However, I'll admit that I kinda wanted to see a new city. But, the Lord has other plans for me. I don't know how long I'll be there in Bacau. Possibly until the end of my mission. I'll now be in my 12th transfer. I talked to Elder Bruner on the phone a couple days ago, and he said the branch has been having problems and even may potentially be shut down! I'm a little bit concerned about that. I guess I'll see what happens when I get there. It was tiny and had problems when I was there before. Elder Bruner has really helped it, but recently, problems have arised again. I don't really know what I can do to save a branch, but I guess I'll give it a shot. I'm happy to be serving with Elder Peterson.

    We had a good last church here in Craiova. Elder Abbott and I both gave talks and both gave the Sunday School lesson. In my talk, I shared some things from Elder Andersen's "You Know Enough" talk. It's funny that he became an Apostle after that talk. I really like that talk. It's true. The Spooner's had us over for lunch! They made pork roast with carrots and potatoes, rolls, and sugar cookies. Tasty stuff! We showed them some of our pictures and had a good time. We've met with Gina the past couple of days. She'll miss us. But, she'll make good friends with the other two coming in. I'll miss this branch and Elder Abbott a ton. It's been a blast here and I've learned a lot.

   It's good to hear that folks at home are doing well. I'm excited for Chase to leave soon. He'll do great, I hope Elder Knapp is enjoying the MTC. He'll be here before he knows it. Hopefully by then, things won't be so freezing and white. I hope to get that Valentine's package at transfers in 2 days. Thanks mom and dad. So yeah, I'll be thinking of classes for BYU soon, and can do my own registering. Should be so much fun (not really). Haha. I have only 6 months left! I still have a lot of important things to do and learn. I love my mission. I have grown immensely. It's been such a molding experience. I'm thankful that I am learning things here that are important for my future. I'm also glad to invite others to accept, live, and receive the blessings of living the Gospel. Well, I'm gonna peace out. Have a good week. I'll let you know how Bacau is next week. Va iubesc! We'll talk. Ciao!

Love, Elder (President) Lee

Monday, February 6, 2012

Still Snowing in Craiova!

Greetings From Snow-blanketed Craiova

Dear Family and friends:

   Greetings from snow-blanketed Craiova. The snow's still coming. It's not like blizzard-style, just nice and easy. It's been a good week. The weather makes everything tougher than it should be. However, there are advantages to these freezing and snowy conditions: 1.) we can do service such as pushing people's cars that are stuck on ice 2.) we can throw snowballs at cigarettes and cigarette packs lying on the ground 3.) Elder Abbott and I can sport our beautiful matching pairs of Ecco boots...and still slip on the ice sometimes (actually, I haven't slipped at all yet, but Elder Abbott has slipped about 4 times!). Life is good in Craiova with Elder Abbott. We talk about lots of stuff. Like lots of stuff. Games, movies, family vacations, BYU memories, and other things that we love. The work is tough indeed. The branch is a little smaller due to some members not coming because of how busy they are at work, or because they are trying to find work. Not many people are very interested in the gospel. It's a challenge to find people that have prepared hearts and minds. However, it is a fun experience nonetheless to be doing this work. I guess when things get hard, I just think of how it was in the Book of Mormon with Alma and Amulek and Mormon and all that. I love the scriptures. Right now, I'm almost smack-dab in the middle of Alma. I just finished Ammon and his brothers' missions among the Lamanites. Good stuff. True stuff.

   We didn't do so much this last week. Just block-knocking, and trying to meet with members and all. Neither Paula nor Cristina has been able to meet. Also, Doru has not met with us lately. We made a visit to Sora Panduru and the kids. We had a spiritual thought and helped shovel her entryway. It's fun to shovel snow huh? We were going to have zone leader exchanges, but they had some troubles on the road between here and Pitesti. They got spun off the road by a big truck! They called us and were like "I don't think we'll make it to Craiova today!" They were both fine. The car got stuck in a bunch of snow, and they eventually got towed out to Pitesti, and the AP's came from Buc and picked them up while the car got repaired in Pitesti. Crazy stuff. They will try to come again this Wednesday. I say they take the train! Maybe they'll think so too. We had a good institute at the Spooner's. We got into Exodus and Moses. It's always a good thing to read, learn, and study about. We can all learn and even apply our lives to what the prophets did and what they went through to do God's work. Church was good. It was fast and testimony meeting. We fasted for missionary work and for members who need jobs or need better jobs than the ones they already have. Elder Abbott and I are becoming great teachers! Why? Because we taught Sunday school again. This time, about serving others and charity. We still don't have the BOM manuals or the George Albert Smith books for Priesthood. Gina came and brought her friend. Not many members came, but it wasn't a big surprise. For dinner, the Spooners' had us two over for some chili and biscuits, as well as chocolate cupcakes! It was really tasty! Tasted like America!

   That's about all the news and all. It's good that things are all well over there across the big blue ocean. Dad, sorry for taking out money. I keep forgetting about the fees they charge. Dad, about BYU registration, I think it would be just fine if I ask President Hill for permission to log onto the BYU MYmap stuff and register. Maybe we could try doing it together. I will be thinking of classes to register for. I hope all the rest of the fam and people on missions and everyone else are doing well. I think that's about all for this email. Have a good week, and don't forget to read the scriptures every day! Ciao.

Love, Elder Lee