Elder And Sister Brown to the Romania/Moldova Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS

Elder And Sister Brown to the Romania/Moldova Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
Elder & Sister Brown to the Romania/Moldova Mission

Monday, February 29, 2016

What every missionary is looking for.  This was sent before Christmas.  Because we don't have an address here in Sibiu it goes to the mission office and the AP's bring it with them to the next zone conference which was Feb. 24th.  

Thanks Kara and Kensie

Attendees at Zone Conference in Cluj.  It was a full day driving 3 hours from Sibiu, checking the missionary companionship area books to make sure they included everything they should and are kept up to date. Then driving home.

President Ivory had their neighbor in the USA as our special guest and speaker.  The Nelsons are the owner/president of Cafe Rio.  Pres. Nelson was also a mission president so he and his wife had lots of good advice for the young missionaries and were very complimentary to us and the Sobergs who traveled like us from Arad.  Fun to see Sister Wyatt who we served with in Bacau and Elder Oak who was here in Sibiu when we first arrived.

Sister Trebas will be going home the middle of March and she was asked to bear her testimony at the zone conference.  She is such a wonderful missionary.  We will really miss her.

On the home front, our yard is starting to blossom and shoot bulbs out of the ground.  Can't wait to see them in full bloom.

Our new kitchen addition.  Can you guess what it is?

Not wanting to drill a whole in the lovely tile we suspended our magnet with string.  That way we can take it home if we want.  Love finding a knife without having to shuffle through our one drawer.

Playing spoons with the YSA.  Deirdre, we also had a hot game with the dice you gave us for Christmas last year.  It was definitely a favorite but it didn't accommodate all 18 of them.

Sunday was busy.  After church here in Sibiu we drove to Sebes to hold church for Roger Quinten up in the hills above.  There were 9 of us who drove up and Roger had 4 investigators.

Roger is quite the ham.  After church Sister Trebas played her guitar to some of the few songs she and Roger had in common, very few.

                        Elder Hellewell and Hubbard with Marios & Roger with Sora Yost and Trebas.

We thought spring was coming a month ago but the last two weeks have been so strangely cold.  The temperature isn't the problem.  It's often in the 30s and 40s but the wind and humidity are really miserable.  Our main problem is that we think it is warmer so don't wear all the layers we could be wearing.  
 In this branch I have had the assignment of food, one of my least favorite jobs in life.  This past week we had a family for dinner, a desert for the YSA activity and a dinner after church.  We usually have a district meeting waffle breakfast but last week was zone conference so we didn't have district meeting, whew.
 My favorite part of our mission is teaching English on Tue and Sat.  We have the beginning lessons learned but are adding the spiritual thought for the advanced class.  This is 10 minutes at the end of their class where we've been teaching the restoration lesson one segment at a time.  I got the idea to include stories about our ancestors and teach how they learned about the church and what an impact it made on them and thus on us, their progenitors.  We hope that the spirit is there and the good news of the restored gospel will bring those the Lord has been preparing into the kingdom to help build the church here in Sibiu.  It's quite a responsibility but our young missionaries are really working hard.  The branch is so small we wonder how the church can justify keeping it going.  The same was true of Bacau.  At times these branches have had a lot more members.  When members move to other countries where they can make a better living that leaves the branch struggling for existence again.  Our goal is to swing the pendulum back in favor of a lot of strong members.  

We thank you for your prayers and now you know more of what we're dealing with.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

 A fun "P- day" this week going with the Elders to climb the stairs to the top four towers of this ancient church.  Begun in the late 1100, it has been well preserved and upgraded to allow access to all but the very top tower.

Beginning at the bottom floor we read this - If we could read translate it, it might contradict the dates we were given. 

Hermannstadt is the name the Germans gave Sibiu.  This is what it looked like with the wall and mote.  From the windows we could tell where the old city was and where the new part began.  Some of the wall towers are still standing, in fact we pass some going from the Sister's apartment to the Centru. 

 We found this life size bas relief at the beginning of the tour with no description that we could understand.  Once in a while we find something written in English for tourists but not that often.

 We didn't pay for the main  church tour but we grabbed a couple pictures of the different areas from our angle.  This is the side where pareashers sit facing the next picture which is  the main area.  You must pay more to sit here so you don't have to turn your head.  It is also much more decorative.

 Elder Brown at the beginning of the spiral climb.  Most of the stairs were reinforced and replaced with wood.

Not well lit and a bit creeky

3/4 of the way up we found four bells that chime.  Rand found the rope to the smallest and let it ring.

Each of the four tours had four windows.  We must have taken a picture from each of those windows.  Pretty interesting.  Here are our favorites.

 A little hard getting a picture in the tower but the lighting in these windows wasn't quite so bright.

Elder Hubbard had been here before so shared his knowledge with us and Elder Hellewell

Flight of stairs leading to the top tower was blocked off but visible.  Glad it wasn't even an option.  

Now that we've been in the towers this area is making sense.  The mot to the city is now a walkway around some of the city.

 Me trying to take a picture of one of the towers from the walkway just below the town wall that is still standing on this side of the city.

We walk through this part of the wall to get to centre, town square.

                            Same pathway different view

Closeup of the wall

Closeup of a tower

Here is the wall with the Ramada Hotel in the background.  The Ramada is the tallest building representing the new age as opposed to the ancient.  We have both in Sibiu in fact in all of Romania - best of the old and new.

Shopping for a hand shovel, Rand asked me to take a picture of him and this pitch fork.
What do you think?  Clothes don't match the farmer look?

Trip to Blaj
Town about an hour and a half away that has investigators.
Romania's learning tower 

According to Elder Hubbard who was told this by the Bair's this tower is in the center of an industrial area that was the most polluted area on the planet back during Communism.  
Wish we had more facts.

 Ramus and Romulus in Romania's town of Blaj.  No one to explain to us why this symbol of the Romans is here.  We saw more than one around town.
We are definitely wondering why we would drive and hour and a half to stop in this muddy section of Blaj to teach.  Elder Brown and I waited in the car till the investigators invited us in some where.  They never did.  The elders taught a group of men standing just behind our car.  The main investigator, Florin said he had to go and would be back.  He never came back.  
Someone finally came and told us his mother in law was in the hospital and he wouldn't be back.  
The elders felt stood up.  (no pun intended)

While waiting for Florin to come back we walked across this river on a hanging bridge.

Elder Brown looked out of place in his hat, suit and tie.

Next we drove to Alba Iulia
to teach George's family.  He heard the missionaries 30 years ago in Houston and decided maybe the church had
something for his family.  He has a 13 year old and twin sons 11.  His wife is 36 years his junior.  

Tuesday's English class filled this room with over 30.  Sat. we were down maybe to 20.  After we teach beginning we trade with the Sister missionaries the last 15 minutes and teach a spiritual thought to the 8 advanced students in English while the sisters teach a spiritual thought to the beginning students in their language.  
This has been an amazing experience.  I especially like getting to know the advanced students.  After our spiritual thought that ties in closely to parts of the first discussion we visit about some really interesting subjects mostly their choice.

Saturday night's YSA activity.  We encouraged the missionaries to do more than play games.  They came up with teaching from "How to Win Friends and Influence People".
Today's topic was how to act so people will like you.
Some areas are teaching Self Reliance or Leadership skills.

The two Romanians on the left helped translate the lesson on being a friend.  They really like learning these kinds of things.

At home in Phoenix the family always gets together to make doughnuts in the winter especially when the out of towners are present.  We were feeling left out but decided we could at least make doughnuts to share as refreshments.  Finding a doughnut cutter was our first obstacle but by chance there was one in Sibiu.  Getting the dough right for this bigger cutter was tricky and the doughnuts cooked up with a lot of personality.  Everyone loved them though so we felt like a success.

Elder Hellewell didn't mind eating a doughnut that cooked up in a figure eight shape.

This lady calls herself Cat Woman.  She thought the doughnuts were great.

Loved this quote I read on Meridian 
 by Wallace Goddard
The most important means for bringing about my (our) eternal life are 
Father's perfect plan, 
the Son's perfect love and 
the Holy Ghost's relentless inspiration.  
My role is to cooperate with them as they work to redeem me (us).