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

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Love Serving in Bucharest!

My Days in Bucharest are Numbered!

Dear Loved Ones,

   Hey, so another week has already quickly passed. This transfer has come to its end. Fifteen transfers are done! We found out what will be happening: I will just stay another week with Elder Nilsson, and an office elder, Elder Schaub, will be with Elder Fonnesbeck for a week. It's the last transfer day for me this Wednesday. I hope to go and enjoy being around some missionary friends for the last time. Also, I hope to get my scriptures back from Cluj. I'm actually not sure that they will be done by then. It would kinda be a bummer if I don't get them on Wednesday, but, it's ok. Elder Nilsson would be fine with bringing them home with him in September. Then, we could meet up and hang out and I could get my scriptures from him! So, I may not have my own scriptures for a little while if that were to happen. We've had a good week.

   We've been trying to keep teaching Mihai and Ioana, our prime investigators, about the importance of prayer, baptism, and the commandments. We had one lesson with them this past week. Ioana is still slower at understanding, but she did come to church last week. Mihai understands a little better, but he has not come to church at all. We had a lesson set up with them and a member--Florin--but they didn't show up. They also didn't come to church yesterday either. They have a baptismal date for August 11th, but I am pretty sure that date will be moved back. It's just hard to gauge their seriousness. Mihai also smokes and drinks a little, and has been living with his girlfriend for 7 years! So, we really need to get the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity fully taught to them. Other than them, we're still working with Flavian, Ana, Tene, and Phil. We had a lesson with Tene and reviewed with him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. He's a great guy and lives the Gospel happily. We had a very good lesson with Flavian about the "Why" of priesthood service (using Pres. Uchtdorf's recent conference talk). We invited him to pray and to ask God to be sure he is ready to receive the priesthood. He feels ready. He's really been enjoying church and reading the BOM on his own. He says it makes his days and weeks so much better. Also, he will be going to a young single adult week-long conference in Hungary this week. He is excited, and so are we!

   We have had a lot of fun as a district. I'll miss all these missionaries when I leave. I'll get to see Elder Fonnesbeck and eventually Elder Nilsson back at BYU though. Elder Fonnesbeck will be living with Elder Farr in a condo somewhere near campus. So, it'll be fun to see both of them. Elder Farr is going home this Wednesday! He actually stayed the night with us (after getting here from Sibiu) and had breakfast with us this morning. It's been fun to talk about all the stuff we've done (I was with him when I first came to Buc last year, and Elder Nilsson was with him in Chisinau this last winter). We had a good district meeting about how to use the BOM in answering questions of the soul. We each wrote a question, then mixed them up, received someone else's question, then had to use only the BOM to find an answer. Mine read, "What happens to the Holy Ghost after the Millenium? Will he ever get a body?" Thanks Elder Durand! (It was his question). So, I found a good verse for it in the book of Jacob, chapter 4, verse 14. We all had a good laugh. I am pretty sure that question is not pertinent to our personal salvation! After the meeting, we had ice cream that the Wolsey's brought, then took some fun district pictures outside the church.

   We finally finished english classes. We had four people show up in advanced. It was fun. Church was nice. Elder Doloscan (he came back from Italy into the mission again) spoke, as well as Elder and Sora Wolsey. They are actually going home in one or two weeks! The new humanitarian senior couple arrived Saturday and came to church. They are the Francom's. I think they are from Canada. Elder Francom was already sustained to be the 1st counselor in the branch presidency! We sang "Secret Prayer" as a branch choir during sacrament meeting. We all ate and sang hymns at Sora Gorzo's afterwards. I only have two more Sundays in Romania!

   It's good that everyone is doing well at home. That's cool that Chris is at Dartmouth now. I hope he enjoys his time there. I'm excited to hear that Briggs will submit his mission papers soon. I hope Dad enjoys his short trip to Sacramento. Mom and dad, I'm going to see you guys in like a week and a half! Isn't that a little strange? We'll have a lot of fun! Oh yeah, I have made a few purchases recently. I got a white shirt, a pair of jeans, new socks, a new tie, and a big Romania picture book with gorgeous pictures of the country. I still may want to get one more suit and some new shoes as well. We'll see! Anyways, I hope you have a good week. Va iubesc. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 23, 2012

Graffiti? I Think Not!

Another Great Week In Bucharest!

Dear friends and family,

   Good Monday. It's a new week again. It's getting close to August. Summer has been going very fast! The weather here in Buc has sort of heated up, but I don't think it feels as humid. It's been a little windy too. So, it feels alright. I've had another good week here in the big city. Elder Nilsson and I have done a good job this week. We are happier because we have improved at contacting people and staying diligent. Also, we made contact again with Mihai (the investigator that keeps disappearing on us). We also met his mom, Ioana! They invited us over to their home for a lesson. They live right near the church. Mihai has been doing well and has read from the BOM, but he hasn't ever come to church yet. His mom, Ioana, is a very nice lady who is interested in what we have. She has trouble reading though, and we're trying to help her better understand the BOM and Restoration. We also taught her about prayer. She came to church! She enjoyed it too! It has been a nice opportunity for Elder Nilsson and me to see some more progress with them, and to give us more to do! We also met with Phil (one of the members from Cameroon, Africa). He got baptized in December or January. He's a funny guy. We had an interesting lesson. We originally planned to review with him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. He wanted us to tell him something he didn't know. So we asked him about fasting, and it eventually turned into a little lesson on fasting and the spiritual power it can bring. He's been doing well. He knows the doctrine well and has a lot of faith in God.

   We had interviews with President and Sora Hill (and the APs) on Wednesday. We had them at the mission home. I had a good time there talking with them. I told the Hill's that Elder Nilsson and I are having a great time together and are trying to finish strong. I'm really glad that I don't feel really anxious or trunky at all. I'm glad to be working diligently to the end. Elder Nilsson is a great example of diligence and obedience to me. Pres. Hill also gave me a renewed temple recommend (in Romanian!). My old one expires July 31st. So, I got an interview and got a new one which lasts until February, I think. The APs talked to us about personal integrity and obedience. Elder Nilsson and I enjoyed our time spent there at the mission home. We had a nice district meeting about the importance of studies. We all shared some of our favorite scriptures. My favorite scripture always changes! I thought about it and decided to share Moroni 10: 32-33. I love those verses. Even though we cannot be perfect in this life, we can become "perfect in Christ" by his grace and love. Through the Atonement of Christ, we can become "holy, without spot." I always thought it would be so neat to be spotless before God. It can happen, but only through our own faith in Christ and repentance. We all shared some nice scriptures together as a district. We had a good advanced english class--4 people came. We talked about Subway, vacations, sites to see in Romania and in the U.S., and more. The students enjoyed it. Finally, Sunday was nice. We heard talks about God, eternal families, and service in Sacrament meeting. Elder Nilsson and I taught the Sunday school lesson about the Word of Wisdom. We kinda of both felt a little unprepared at first (because we didn't have much time to prepare in the first place). However, as we got talking about it using D&C 89, we both felt that the Spirit was present and guiding our words. I really enjoy the feeling of teaching and saying what the Spirit helps me to say. At the end of our lesson, we sang "In Our Lovely Deseret!" We had a good meal at Sora Gorzo's (sarmale). It was a refreshing Sunday and a good week.

   So, it sounds like things are going well back home. Mom and dad, I read about what you said concerning the McFadden's favor. They were just wondering if you could bring two laptops over for some reason. It's probably not a problem if you guys don't have the room to take them. I'm sure the McFadden's will get them some other way. If he calls me again, I'll let him know. Or, you guys can email him back. It's good that Chris and Liz's baby is alright. Hopefully, it all works out and Chris can go to Dartmouth. Their house is looking nice. How are Jamie and Mark doing? I rarely get emails from Jamers. I'm excited to see them in Redlands when I get back. That's exciting that Elder Rowley's dad is getting him in Chile. It will be fun to see him soon. Dad, I already asked Pres. Hill about storing one of my luggages, and he said it would be fine. I think everything should be in order for our week together when you guys come here. Anyways, I guess that's about it for this week. Have a good one! Ciao.

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 16, 2012

I've collected a few name tags!

Can it get any hotter?

Dear Loved Ones,

   Hello! It's been another quick week in Bucuresti. We find ourselves here at the internet place yet again, emailing our respective families and all. We always have to race to get a computer! This place we go to (Orange--a phone company) has 9 really nice Mac computers. Today, we all made it to a computer! Well, besides the sisters. Sora Moulton and Sora Sam were too slow. However, there's another internet place nearby, and they went there. Anyways, Elder Nilsson and I have had a good week here. Apparently, this is one of the hottest summers in years in Romania! Remember how winter was like the worst winter in decades? Well, I guess it's kinda similar now, just dang hot and humid instead. I hear it will get a little cooler this week, then heat up again by Sunday. Mom and Dad, I guess it's good that it has been humid in Redlands. You need to prepare yourselves for Bucharest. Maybe it won't be as bad in Brasov. I look forward to the time you guys come, but I am also keeping myself focused on finding some cool people!

   We don't really have any investigators at the moment (they disappeared). But we do have some recent converts and less-actives that we still work with. We had a lesson with Gabi and Mihai Geambasu--a really cool couple. Mihai served a mission in Spain a few years ago, and Gabi, his wife, got taught and baptized by Elder Nilsson and Elder Simmons in November or December. We talked to them about preparing to go to the temple, and the blessings of the temple. On Saturday, we had exchanges. Elder Nilsson went to Elder Fonnesbeck, and Elder Durand came to me, so we were companions again for the day! We had a lesson with Ana. We talked about the importance of prophets. She's been doing well, but hasn't been reading her scriptures for a little while. We encouraged her to read daily, and we told her that she would see and feel a difference in her life as she does so. We also visited the Males's and the Paun's. We talked with them about inviting others to learn about the gospel, as well as the blessings we have seen in our lives as a result of the Restoration. They're awesome. Elder Nilsson and I have also tried to find a few more former investigators, but we haven't had much luck.

   The branch is doing well. Church was great yesterday. Unfortunately, we had no investigators come. Also, Flavian, our recent convert didn't show up. We need to meet with him soon. Nicu did come and passed the sacrament again! He was kind of less-active, but is now coming to church more often. It's great to see him in a white shirt and tie, passing the sacrament. He is a funny guy. We heard talks from Pres. Bulgarasu about keeping the Sabbath Day holy, from Ioana about prophets, and from Elder Nilsson about prayer. We sang "Faith in Every Footstep" as a branch choir too. We sound good! Now, we are practicing "Secret Prayer"--in Romanian, it's "Rugaciune Tainica". It's fun to sing the bass part in the chorus. Sora Gorzo made us ardei umpluti (stuffed peppers) after church. They were really good. Elder Nilsson and I found out that there's a Subway (the American sandwich place) that just opened up in a mall near our apartment! So, we went there once or twice already. We found out that there are supposed to be 5 or 6 in Buc by the end of the year (there are 2 now I think), and lots more across the whole country by the end of the year. There are Suways in Buc, Tmisoara, Cluj, Iasi, and Constanta I think. I've been enjoying Subway Melts, Chicken Teriyaki with sweet onion sauce, and the cookies! It costs about 20 lei for a footlong (well, actually a 30cm) sandwich meal. That would be cool if Togo's ever came to Romania...

   Anyways, that's about all we've been up to lately. I haven't taken any exciting new pictures, because we haven't really done anything exciting on our P-days--we've just chilled in the church all day. It's good that things are going well at home. I'm excited for everyone coming to Redlands for my homecoming. I'm excited to be able to see and hang out with Kenadee right when I'm back! I hope things all go well for Chris and Liz. I guess we'll see if he's able to go to Dartmouth or not. Mom, I'm glad you've been enjoying your primary class. I guess that would be fun to drop in and say hi to them in Romanian when I'm back. So Keith and Jordan are already back? Wow. That seemed fast. And Truman will be home really soon too. It will be fun to get back in touch and hang out with them all again at BYU. Anyways, I'm basically done for this week. Have a good week, Ciao.

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 9, 2012

Time Is Going Too Fast!

Dear loved ones,

   Well, hello there again. Let's talk about this past week. It's been a good one here with Elder Nilsson. I've really enjoyed being with him. Bucharest is hot and humid. Big surprise, right? We're all doing well as a district. Elder Nilsson and I are really trying hard to keep focus on the work. It can be hard sometimes because a lot of the time we have is just finding (new investigators or former investigators). We have enjoyed talking about BYU and things, but we also try to keep our minds on our work as much as we can. I didn't know it could be tough sometimes to finish strong on your mission. We have had success last week with meeting a couple of former investigators (Mihai and Gabi). However, this week, they decided to stop answering their phones and doors! So, we have kind of lost contact with them, already! It's a little bit of a bummer. They both are awesome people. We do have a little handful of recent converts and less-actives to work with. The sisters gave us Phil and Tene to work with. They are the ones from Cameroon, Africa. They were baptized in December or January I think. We have them now, because it can be difficult for the sisters to meet them with another member or missionaries to be present there every time (because of a mission rule). So, the work moves on! Elder Nilsson and I are really enjoying trying to figure out why exactly we are here together near the end of our missions.

   The branch is doing well. The mission had 3 or 4 baptisms this last week. There are a good amount of people throughout the mission with baptismal dates. Our district now has one baptismal date--an investigator of the sisters named Jamal. That's cool, mom and dad, that you guys got a letter from President Hill. It'll be cool for you guys to meet him. He is an outstanding mission president, and I will miss him when I am done here. Mom and dad, I think the Brasov church address is Str. Artur Leiter Nr. 1. I just looked at the church site in Romanian (its My scriptures are getting bound up in Cluj-Napoca. I should be getting them brought back down at transfers. Hopefully they'll get done correctly. I think the sisters up in Cluj take care of binding all the missionaries' books. I want my English quad to be hard-back, black, with gold lettering and designs (saying "The Holy Writ") and my Romanian triple to be hard-back, black, with silver lettering and designs (saying "Sfintele Scripturi" meaning "the holy scriptures") So, It will be cool to get those soon. Curently, I am studying out of the New Testament (I just finished Galatians) and I am borrowing Elder Nilsson's Bible.

   So, it sounds like you, mom and dad, had a fun 4th of July at Five Guys and at the Andreasen's. I want some Five Guys! I remember that was the last meal I had before walking into the MTC. That day doesn't really even feel that long ago. How was it at the Andreasen's? There were a lot of missionaries there? Were Zach and Briggs there? How do they feel about rooming with me at BYU in just over a month? I hope you enjoyed the fireworks! The only time I have seen fireworks here was for New Year's. Well, last New Year's in Craiova was super foggy and I couldn't see much of anything. I sure heard the fireworks though. Do you want to know what we did for Independence Day here in Bucharest? We went to eat at a Chinese restaurant! It was actually Sora Moulton's birthday on the 4th. We didn't do much throughout the day, but in the early evening, we all met together and ate at a Chinese restaurant (I forgot the name) sort of nearby the church. It was pretty good food! I got some sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and all that good stuff. It was fun to celebrate Independence Day in a Chinese restaurant in Romania! Sora Wolsey made us some good cake the next day for district meeting. Church yesterday was nice. We heard talks about service, sacrifice, and charity in sacrament meeting. We practiced "Faith in Every Footstep" as a branch choir after church. Sora Gorzo fed us some good food, as usual.

   It's good to hear that things in Redlands and in Utah are going well. It sounds like it's pretty hot there in Redlands! Enjoy it! There's no humidity there! Chris sent me a picture of their house, with those fires in the background. They got pretty close to the house! Are all those fires put out yet? That's a cute picture of Kenadee that you sent me, dad. Mom, I'm glad you are loving your Primary class. That is kinda a weird dream you had. A Romanian wedding? In Bulgaria? And Alin from Constanta was there? Did you say hi to him for me? Haha. That's really cool that Muse will be performing a theme song at the Olympics. Tell me how it goes! I still really like Muse a lot, especially how they play live! I'm glad to be here in Buc and continue to be a missionary trying to focus hard and work. My time is running out, so I'm trying to love each new day that I still have. That's about all I have to say about that. Have a good week. Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee

Monday, July 2, 2012

Great Times in Bucharest!

Time just keeps on rolling - too fast!

Dear loved ones,

   Hey, it's Elder Lee again! This past week has been a good one. The weather has not been too bad lately. However, it's July now, so it might start to get really bad soon. I'm almost used to the extreme humidity around these parts. I think it's pretty hot and humid in all the other cities in the mission. It's really weird that June is already over. I think it may have been the fastest month of my whole mission! The weeks keep on counting down for me ever so quickly, and it feels almost unfair that time just keeps on rolling too fast when you want it to go slow! I've been cherishing every day though. Elder Nilsson and I have been having a great time together. We get along really well, and have done some good things.

   Lately, we have been trying to re-contact some former investigators (found/taught in the past year or two). So far, we have actually found some success! We called a guy named Mihai. This Mihai was actually a guy Elder Farr and I contacted a year ago or more here in Buc! Elder Farr and I had a great lesson with him, and even invited him to be baptized and he said yes. But, unfortunately, he kinda disappeared for a while and stopped answering his phone. Well, Elder Nilsson and I got back in touch with him and have had two lessons with him this last week. He is a very nice and sincere guy. He's trying to find a new job right now. He even showed the BOM to his mom, and invited us to come over to them the next time we have a lesson! He didn't make it to church yesterday, but we hope he comes next week. The other former investigator we met with is named Gabi. She's a nice lady, married, and has a 17-year old son named Tavi. Only she was home when we visited, but we still had a great lesson and discussion about the importance of the BOM, Joseph Smith, and prayer. She didn't really remember much of what she was taught in the past. We gave her a new BOM to read, and she said she'd read it, and would be welcome to have us over again to talk more about it. Usually, I've never had this much success in trying to hunt down and re-teach former investigators, so it's really cool.

   We've also met with a couple of members-- the Firaru's and the Males's. They are both awesome families. We talked to the Firaru's about Helaman 5:12, and how we can build ourselves upon the rock of Christ. We visited Cristi and Iulia Males, with their little baby daughter, Louiza. It was kind of late, and we actually didn't have time to give a spiritual thought. But it was good to get to know them better and see how they've been. Their daughter is so cute. They made us some good fried squash and mici and french fries too. The branch and the district is doing well. We had a really fun talent show the other day--"Talente Mormone", in which members and missionaries from both the Buc branches participated. Lots of people showed up, and their were some really cool and funny performances--like Fratele Radu and his wife singing some opera and traditional Romanian music, Sora Alexandru doing some stand-up comedy, and her son, Vlad, dancing around and singing some dancey-beat songs. We all enjoyed it a lot. They do it each summer, and I think this one was just the fourth annual Talente Mormone talent show. I got to see Levent there too! (he was an investigator we taught here last year) Church was nice. It was nice to fast and hear each others' testimonies. Sora Gorzo made us some stuffed zucchini after church! It was really good. There was an Austrian couple (members of the church) that visited yesterday at church. They are a young married couple (the husband got back from a mission to Russia about 6 months ago) and they are doing a huge biking trip along the Danube River from Austria to Istanbul, Turkey! They came with us to eat at Sora Gorzo's too! They were really nice and spoke english really well.

   Well, that's about all the stuff that has happened this week. President and Sora Hill are doing well and are starting their interview tour. I actually gave my scriptures to the office elders for them to put in the office supplies for the Cluj missionaries so I can get them "Cluj-bound". There's a guy there that does some really nice binding and stuff, and tons of missionaries love to get their sciptures bound and fancified there. My scriptures should make it up there in the next couple of days with Pres. Hill and the AP's on their interview tour. I hope that it all works out, and that I can get them before I leave. Worst case scenario--I'll get them from Elder Nilsson or Durand back up in Utah after they finish their mission. Anyways, it's good that things are going well at home. I love hearing about how the family is doing, and seeing pictures of everyone, especially Kenadee. I hope you have a great week. Let July begin! (Oh yeah, sorry I forgot....Happy (late) Father's Day dad!) Ciao!

Love, Elder Lee