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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Goodbye Elder Peterson - I'll Miss You!

I'm staying in Bacau for at least another transfer

Dear Loved Ones:

   Hello! It's President Lee. It's been a good week. A good last week of the transfer. It's transfers already. I'm going into my 13th! Plus, I'm going home a little early for school. So, my time is running short to be a missionary in this awesome mission. I only have a little over 4 months left. I hope to be ready for school and life again. I've learned an innumerable amount of things and had amazing, unique experiences not to be had anywhere else or at any other time of my life. Life moves on. I will still be a BP in Bacau. Elder Petersom is leaving me! He actually going back to Buc to be an office elder! He'll be in a trio with 2 other missionaries, because there will be an odd number of elders. I will get a new companion--Elder Doloscan. I don't know if I've ever mentioned him before in my emails. I have met him a couple of times. He is from Moldova. He is a convert to the church of not too many years. He's been out on his full-time mission here for about 4 or 5 transfers. He's a native, who knows the language. He also knows Russian, I think. He has been serving in Buc the past 3 transfers with Elder Bateman and Elder Fonnesbeck. It will be interesting to have a Moldovan convert as my companion! He knows english pretty well. He's a cool guy. He's a hard worker. I hope we have a good transfer together and try to help this branch. It's tough to be in Bacau. I don't know how long I'll be here. I would prefer to be here for just one more, not just because it is a tougher place, abut also because I am kinda getting worn out of 2-man districts! I would love to be around more missionaries! However, I'll keep trying to do a good job for another transfer here in Bacau. We have a new AP too--Elder Hyatt. He's the one that I went to BYU with (we were in the same ward and lived right next to each other, but never hung out!) The 6 elders all leave this week, to be replaced by 7 new elders, including Elder Knapp! I hope to see him soon, and find out where he's going and who will train him. There are a lot of cool cities and trainers he could go to!

   Right now, I'm in Iasi, again! Elder Peterson and I took a train up here yesterday and met up with Elders Jones, Herman and Eaton. Elder Harrison (Elder Jones' companion went up early to Chisinau to be a zone leader there, leaving Elder Jones in a trio in Iasi). Elder Peterson had to go to Buc earlier to get to the office, and he went down with the Iasi ZL's (Elder Herman is going home). So, I am left here to be on a 3 or 4 day exchange with Elder Jones! It's pretty cool to be here for a few days with him and the sisters here in Iasi, Soras Komar and Bennett. Both our new companions will get up here on Wednesday night, and Elder Doloscan and I will take a train back to Bacau Thursday morning. It's going to be April soon! That means its gonna be general conference, Easter, registering for BYU classes (I'll be sure to register for the Romanian 340 class), and another big mission conference in a few weeks. We'll have Elder Gerald Causse come to our mission. It will be on April 19th. Should be exciting.

   Mom and dad, I would love for you guys to come to Romania to pick me up! I asked about it in my email to President Hill. Elder Fonnesbeck is going home early for school too, and he said August 9th was the day President Hill told him would be a good day. Maybe I can finish my mission that day too. Then, it would work out to go around Romania for a week. I think it would be fun to room with Zach and Briggs. Keep me updated on that mom. Thanks for sending an Easter package. I'm sorry I'm lazy and don't send anything to you guys back home, except emails (I did send a postcard once!). I just am too lazy to send packages home, and I also don't know anyone's addresses at BYU or elsewhere. It's good that things are going well back home. Congrats to Marshall on his mission call! It sounds like a cool mission! I'm wondering why most of the missionaries from the ward are going stateside. Maybe Soren will go somewhere far away, like Cambodia or Thailand. Well mom and dad, keep me up-to-date on the news in the family, especially about whether you guys will have a new grand-son or grand-daughter! Sounds exciting. The weather there is a bit rainy and cooler? It's a little bit of a cooler day today too. Usually, it's sunny and nice and warm. Soon, it's gonna get too warm. I guess I'm about done. Sorry I don't have a cool experience or something like that this time. But I do have this I guess: a few days ago, I was studying from Preach my Gospel about Keeping the Sabbath Day holy. After reading it, I felt impressed to write down the reasons why I go to church every week and I thought about all the blessings it has brought me in my life. I came up with 20 reasons! I shared them all in a talk I gave yesterday on keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Sora Dragomir spoke about prayer. It was a good sacrament meeting. I have become a better studier of the gospel. It's a great idea to keep a little study/revelation journal. I'm glad I go to church every Sunday! I have a lot of blessings that I need to be more grateful for. Well, I'm done. Have a great week. We'll mai vorbim. Ciao.

Love, President Lee

Monday, March 19, 2012

Having Fun With My Great District!

Spring Has Arrived - Finally!

Dear family and friends:

   Hello. It's President Lee. I never know how to begin with these emails. Well, first of all, it's gotten a lot wamer in these parts the last couple of days! It's up to around 17-22 degress celsius (high). Just about all the snow is melted. I won't miss the snow. However, it is kinda a bummer I won't get to spend another winter here in Romania. It will be cool though, to be back home for Christmas. My time is running out. I have 5 months left! I actually don't even know when exactly I'm going home. Mom and dad, are you guys still planning on coming over here to pick me up? If so, when? I think it would be a cool experience for you guys. It would be right in the summer too. Thanks dad, for sending me details of registering. April 3? I guess I need to be ready as fast as possible that day to register. I need to think of more classes too. So far, I've only thought of New Testament or D&C, maybe a Civilizations class or some type of history class, and maybe that Romanian class. Mom, you said that Romanian class is full of girls? Hmm, I need to keep thinking. I don't even know what I want to major in for sure.

   The work here is going. Bacau is warmer, but the branch here is about the same as it's always been. Yesterday at church, we had 3 members and one investigator. We talked about honesty, charity, and obedience (in Sunday School). Alin gave the talk about charity. He's a champ. Always comes every Sunday. He's so funny. He keeps us happy when it gets discouraging. So does Daniel. He's doing well, and we still hang out with him on p-days. We made a little la tara trip to visit Fratele Iancu at his home. Just he was there. His wife was at her mom's helping her clean. We talked a lot and ate some good ciorba and potato stew and shared a spiritual thought on charity. He's the member that usually goes off on communism and other negative things, but he seemed to do better at his home and the next day at church. It can get a little lonely and hard to find motivation here, being just 2 missionaries, but we have fun and get by. I may be here for a shorter time than branch presidents have spent here in the past, because it is a 2-man city. We'll see what happens. I would really like to finish my misison in another, new city, and to be around more missionaries. It's a good experience to be a branch president though, even when it's tough to find motivation and see changes. I am so grateful for my mission. There have been ups and there have been downs. It's important to have hardships, success, difficulties, and humor. There have been extremes in all of them. All the ups and downs have contributed to my growth. It's like a heart monitor. There are ups and downs (which are both essential) and also flatlines (which means you're dead and you're not having the mission that you need to have.) Anyways, it's all been a great blessing.

   I am excited for Elder Knapp to come here in just a week or so. I hope to see him! I'm sure he loved the MTC. Thanks for all the news and updates from back home. That's scary what happened to Kenadee, but it's good that she's back to normal and her arm is fine. That's good for BYU, that they had a huge comeback. Hopefully they win more games. That's funny about Gary Hallen and how wearing BYU shirts is immodest. I have 2 BYU shirts and wear them proudly, especially in Romania. I hope Chris and Liz's house will get done sooner rather than later. Chris said they find out if they're having a girl or boy in just a week, and that Chris is thinking of naming the child "Smitty". He said it works for both a girl or a boy. That would be really fun to live with Zach and Briggs. We'll see what happens. I miss them a lot! Well, that's about everything I have to say this week. Multumesc pentru tot. Va iubesc atat de mult. Have a good week! Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, March 12, 2012

Visited the neighboring City of Iasi, Romania

The Snow is Almost Gone!

Dear loved ones:

   Hello. This is President Lee signing in on another Monday. It's almost the middle of March already. Snow keeps melting. It's finally warming up a bit. It's around 10 degrees celsius for the high today. Right now, I'm actually in Iasi! The Zone Leaders there invited us up to hang out and go airsofting. President Hill gave us permission to come up here last night and then we slept over at the ZL's. It's been fun so far. So, yesterday, we tried to get a maxi-taxi at 7 in the evening to get to Iasi, but it was all booked up. We decided to go to the train station to see if trains were leaving to Iasi. We bought tickets for one going first to a city called Pascani, then to Iasi (on a different train). We made it on and were pretty sure it was our train. Later, we found out that it actually wasn't! Our actual train had left Bacau a little early. So, we did get to Pascani, but we were a little too late and missed the other train going to Iasi. Uh oh. We tried to see if maxi taxis were going there, but the autogara was closed. There were no more trains going to Iasi that night. So, we asked around, and a taxi driver said he could take us. It was pretty much the only thing we could do. It was an hour or more drive to Iasi in the taxi. Fortunately, the taxi driver was a really nice guy. However, he had us pay him 140 lei! So, we paid him, and went to the ZL's (they actually live on the 4th floor of the church villa--a really cool loft-type place) So, it was expensive to get here, but we're grateful we made it! Besides, I got 700 lei back in reimbursements from an expensive apartment bill I had payed a few days ago. It's all good!

   So anyways, we're here in Iasi and hope to have a fun P-day. Bacau is going alright. Elder Peterson and I are having a great time together. He's kinda getting tired of Bacau. This is his third transfer here. We do sometimes get discouraged, but yesterday was a good day at church. We had 8 members and 2 investigators! We had a couple members come that haven't come for a while. It was a good sacrament meeting. Andreea (a super cool member that knows english fluently) gave a great talk on the Holy Ghost. I also gave a talk--on repentance. Sunday school was kinda crazy, but alright. Sora Profira came and gave a lesson on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. It all turned out well. Sunday school can kinda be an adventure sometimes. I'm glad that Ionela and Sava (our investigators) came. I met Ionela for the first time last week. She came to the church with Alexandra--her friend who is also a great member here in the branch and is Fratele Iancu's daughter. We had a good lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is so cool. She's funny and down to earth and knows that the BOM is true. She still hasn't felt like she has received a solid answer about being baptized, but we hope to meet her soon again to see if she can be ready for the 24th of March. Sava is doing well. I don't know if he quite understands the importance of a restored church, but I think that his coming to church really helped. He is trying to quit smoking and is reading a little bit from the BOM. Other than that, we don't really have any progressing investigators at the moment.

   Everything else is going well. Being a branch president here is challenging, but it is good experience. It's tough to make changes in this really comes down to the members. Sometimes I wonder why I was given this assignment--to help a branch keep functioning and to help members do their part. It's really a unique thing. We try to do missionary work too. We hope to see things change--at least in a small measure. Elder Peterson and I do a good job at keeping each other happy and laughing all the time. We always play Settlers of Catan every Monday with Daniel. Elder Peterson always wins too! The whole mission is doing well. There was someone baptized in Pitesti this last week, and there are 18 current baptismal dates across the mission. We will have a general authority come and visit next month-- Elder Gerald Causse of the Seventy. He's in our Europe area presidency. Should be cool. It was great to have Elder Teixiera come last October. I'm also excited for general conference coming in a couple weeks.

   Well, that's about it around this neck of the woods. I'm bucuros (glad) that things well back home. Mom and dad, I hope you had a good time in Santa Barbara. That reminds me of Psych, I miss Psych... Keep me informed on the BYU registration. Do you guys know my password and all to get into myMap (on the BYU website) or whatever it's called? I may have forgotten. If you do know it, please send it to me in an email sometime soon. I still don't even know what classes I want to do...I'm glad Jamie, Mark, and Kenadee are doing well, as well as Chris and Liz. I hope Elder Knapp is ready to come to Romania in a couple weeks! He should be so excited. I hope to see him soon. Keep me up to date on where others from the ward will be going on their missions. It sounds like all is well in the ward back home. Congrats dad, on your super prestigous rating on being a great attorney! How did that happen? Well, I guess that's all I have this week. I love you guys. Have a good week and enjoy the weather. Mai vorbim, ok? Ciao!

Love, Elder/President Lee

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring is just around the corner - Can't get here fast enough!

Strengthening the Branch in Bacau

Dear family and friends,

    Hello! How are you? I hope you had a pretty nice week. Now it's March! It's almost springtime. The snow keeps melting...very slowly. I love the springtime. Last year, it was awesome in Deva during March and April. The weather was perfect. I'm getting tired of the cold and snow. It was also really windy the past few days! It was like Constanta winter all over again!(maybe not that bad...) Anyways, it was a good week. Bacau is...well...Bacau. Elder Peterson and I are getting along well. We're having fun trying to give our investigators baptismal dates and helping them get to church. They still haven't come. We're still trying to work with Iulian. He's a cool guy. We are teaching Sava too. We extended him a baptismal invitation for the first week of April. We're trying to help him understand the meaning of the restored church, and to pray sincerely to recieve help to stop smoking and find out if the BOM really is the word of God. It's going well with them. It's always a difficulty finding new investigators though.

    We had exchanges with our ZL's in the middle of last week. I was with Elder Eaton. He's 3 transfers below me, and it's his first as zone leader. He's a great missionary. We did a lot of contacting, block knocking, and tried to visit a less-active member, but he wasn't home. Elder Herman was with Elder Peterson. We all had a district meeting at the church, and then we got some mici from Kaufland! I love Kaufland mici! I hope I can be able to make mici back in America somehow....and sarmale. It's tasty stuff. We went on an adventure la tara (countryside) to visit the Iancu's. We took a maxi taxi about 40 minutes outside of Bacau to Tescani, their little sat (village). They made us ciorba and supa de cartofi (potato soup) from their own vegetables and chickens and everything. It was tasty. We had a little thought about scripture study. They have a humble little home, with a cool dog and cute little kittens. Fratele Iancu is a good member (he hitch-hikes into Bacau just about every Sunday for church). However, he has a tendency to talk about a lot of problems caused by communism and the orthodox church. It's a little frustrating sometimes to help him stop talking a lot about problems that nobody can fix, and to help him realize how blessed he should be as a member of the restored church of Jesus Christ. He did the same thing in church yesterday.

   Church was fast and testimony meeting. We had 4 members come. It was a good testimony meeting, and we could feel the spirit! We had no investigators there. The Dragomirs (Georgeta andher son, Dan) came, and so did Alin and Fratele Iancu. After our branch business and finances and all, we went home to finally eat! We had some good chicken spaghetti and snickers! Later in the day, we both got a little discouraged because of the state of the branch. It has not really seen a change in a long time. It's hard to change this branch. We were a litttle discouraged at the fact that the branch just isn't changing, because the members don't want to make needed changes. It affects our missionary work too. However, it's how it is, and so we keep trying. I'm glad that Elder Peterson and I get along well.

   Anyways, that's about all that happened this week. It's good to hear about home. I can't believe I'll be back in school in just over 5 months! I'm excited that Chris was able to meet Jason Alexander. That's random! I bet he loved that. It sounds pretty fun. Kenadee is huge now! I'm happy that everyone is doing well. That's really cool about Diana and her mission call to Taiwan! I haven't talked to her forever. It's awesome that she's going to go on a mission! Mom, tell her I say congratulations! Missions are the most intense roller coaster rides ever, and they do change your life forever.  It's a great privilege to invite others to change their lives through the gospel and atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm very glad I chose to serve, even when it's tough at times. Dad,I'll still be waiting to hear about my registration deadline for BYU. Ioana, a member in Buc, got accepted to go to BYU this Fall! I think it would be cool to see her there when I go back. Well, it's good that the family is doing well. I guess I'm done for now. Hope you have a good week, and we'll talk later. Go forth and conquer! Be fierce! Ciao.

Love, President Lee