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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter from the East to the West.

Romania does not celebrate Easter till the first Sunday in May which is the Orthodox day for Easter.

Our week started out cold but clear and quite beautiful.  

Our Front yard has so many spring flowers that I remember from Utah where we lived over 30 years ago.  Phoenix has daffodils whose bulbs don't cook in the summer.  But everything else lasts for only one season there.

Our front entry banister is not white.  We got a late spring snow on Thursday.  We woke up to many flowers bent down to the ground with the weight and many more trees looked like they had white blossoms.  At least for a few hours.

We had just bought a few more flowers to go in the church planters but decided not to plant them till it warmed up and dried out a little.

By evening the snow had melted and the flowers survived beautifully.

Opening a 30 pack of eggs often reveals items you'd never find at home.  I've scrubbed and scrubbed on what looked like manure on an egg.  I guess they let such things go because you simply can't get it off.  We think it is cooked on or something.  But to find a brown feather, that was a first.

English classes started this week instead of next.  We did not have sign ups and the word may not have gotten out to all our past students who were expecting classes to start next week.  Tue we only had 6 in our beginning class and the other classes were equally small.  We loved it having such a small class.  Each student got much more individual attention.  (no picture)  Sat. was the second class and turned out to be a beautiful day.  Our numbers were down even more. It will be interesting to see if we get our usual turnout this coming Tuesday.  We'll take whatever we get however.

Thursday was a ward activity.  At home we have two puzzles of the United States that we have competitions with to see who can put them together the fastest.  Here we found two puzzles of Europe and the ladies challenged the gentlemen to a contest.  

 We won, as you can see.  It was a good way to learn a little about European geography.

Refreshments were doughnuts.  The Sisters had fun learning how to cut out and cook.  The elders had fun eating and creating odd shapes, at least for a doughnut.

Surprised to find this grave yard so close to our home in Selembar.  Selembar (pronounced She lem bar) is mostly new homes.  The head stones were gigantic compared to those at home unless you pay a lot of money.  Sat. many family members were planting and weeding their family's "spot".  

Last week's hair style isn't as severe.  Back to my usual look.

Went with the Sisters to visit this 81 year old gentleman in their neighborhood.  His wife died about 5 years ago and he is so lonely.  We showed him the Easter initiative film.  He said he felt such peace with us there.  We didn't understand a lot of the hour conversation but it was a sweet visit and the sisters translated a little for us.  We love making a difference in people's lives.

At the base of the bill that contained the original mote for the city was a beautiful spring tree.  Sat. was clear, bright and so cold but fun to try and capture the beauty.

The Craciuns are our experiment.  This was our third week of the twelve week Self Reliance class.  Because they speak English well we are priming them to be able to teach the class after the material is available in Romanian some time this summer.  They both have a business and say they are really learning some great things to help their businesses grow.

Sunday we had a District visitor for Relief Society.  I didn't think to get a picture at church with  Monica Kiss and the Relief Society sisters: one Relief Society President and three missionary sisters.  Here we are dropping her off at the bus for her ride back to Cluj.  Monica has been a member for 16 years.  She was introduced to the church in English class.  She has three children and says next time she comes she will bring them.  I told her to give us enough time to prepare a Primary for them. 

This Easter we want to share this video with you 


Let us all find new Life through Jesus Christ.   - Hallelujah.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring has definitely come to Romania

If I remember right the bush behind me is forsythia.  Grandma Howlett liked that bush.  Forsythia branches often made it into her early spring flower bouquets for church.

We bought transplants at Leroy Merlin to begin a garden in the planters at the church.  We planted gladiolus, dutch iris and frassia (SP?) bulbs for later in the season but for now we have a lot of small pansies.  Church faces North so sun loving plants won't thrive here.

People don't have to water their gardens here.  The soil was already wet.  Lucky them

Finished for now.

Beautiful day on P-day for a drive up to the local ski resort.  As you can see there is very little snow.  They didn't have much the whole winter except maybe on this North facing bunny hill.

Elders Hubbard and Hellewell drove up with us and we ate at a restaurant with a very nice view where we told each other crazy stories from our past.  They especially like hearing about our adventures in Africa.  We aren't sure if the corn ears hanging from the roof of this patio are decorations or just the way they dry them.

We're about 30 kilometers from Sibiu and we think that is the city we could see from this view.

Two signs to Santa and one to Sibiu.  We should have gone to Santa just to see what it was. 

Wish we could capture on camera the lovely scenery that we worked so hard to take.  As dad always said, "make sure someone is in the picture".  It does make it more interesting especially when you can't portray the view like you want.

The oldest working swimming pool in Romania is called the Neptune.  It is within walking distance of the church so that is the one I have started working out in.  It was built in 1904 and been remodeled at least once.  It isn't open on p-day or Sunday to give the system a chance to catch up on cleaning.  It is quite cheap and thus popular.  Each swimmer get their own dressing room which limits how many can swim.  When I get there I often wait 5-10 minutes for someone to leave and free up a dressing room.

The sea shell decorations along the side give it an old feel, maby even medieval 

 Starting at 10 every day teachers come to teach the children swimming.  As you can see one narrow side is partitioned off for the instruction of over 20 children.  It was interesting meeting the instructor.  He says he is "orthodox" and had never heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I hope to have more meaningful conversations in the future.  Glad he speaks some English.  Their website says that all children in Sibiu that learn to swim do so at this pool.

Decided to even up my hair on my own.  Then when I got to the back I couldn't figure out how to cut so had Alexandra make an appointment with her hair stylist.  This what she came up with.  I guess I'm not growing my hair out after all.

I was given the assignment by the District President of keeping up on a branch face book page to be used as the branch history.  With the help of Alex from Cluj we had contacted the instigator of the original page as it was locked as to who could post.  Johnny, or Elder Cernat as he is now called is a missionary in England never responded to our requests to make posts to that page so this week Alex helped me start a new page.  You can follow us on Ramura din Sibiu.  This is the picture I took for the front page.  Parking is at a premium and it took some time before we could park our little green Opel in front for this picture.

Last week we wrote that we were getting two new missionaries as Elder Hubbard was going to Bucharest and Sora Trebas was going home.  Here we have Elder Cochran who is from Mesa and Sora Djahanbani who is brand new to the mission and from Utah.  Our waffle dinner after district meeting is continuing strong however at this point we were cleaning up when I thought to take this picture.

One picture I didn't get is of the Craciuns, Alexandra and Sandu are meeting with us weekly to learn the self reliance material.  They both are working on starting their own businesses.  Once they have gone through the material they will help us teach the branch members.  We hope the material will be available in Romanian this summer.

Saturday night activity was really fun with a great turnout.  Sora Trebas, who is touring the mission with her parents came and we enjoyed getting to know her parents, Cheryl and David Trebas.  They were able to attend church with us on Sunday and we fixed them a meal to eat at the church before they headed off for Bucharest.

Two lines as you can see with your back to the other person.  The last in the row were given an object to draw on the person in front of them.  This was passed on then the one at the front of the line drew what they thought it was on a white board.  The team whose picture matched the original object the best got a point.  Never realized how hard a drawing on your back is to feel.  YSA below is drawing what she thought she felt.

Good bye Sora Trebas from the Gang.  Several are investigators, some are members and most are friends we found in English class along with the missionaries of course.

Sora Trebas with her parents, her last companion, Sora Yost and Sora Yost's new companion Sora Djahanbani (Jahanbony)

 Elder Cochran is a jewel.  This is the second batch of dishes he has done without any assignment given.  He'll make a great husband some day.

 Sibiu sister missionaries Jan. 2016 thru March 21, 2016.  Sora Trebas and Yost, love you.

We are loving the Church's new video on Easter.  One advantage we have here in Romania is that Easter is celebrated first Sunday in May (Orthodox Easter) so we get 7 weeks to share this video.  The missionaries have a small booklet that they can carry up to three videos on.  We've been with them when they sat down with an investigator and showed them a video on the 4 inch screen.    Hope you are preparing for the real purpose for Easter.  Thank you to our Savior for his infinite sacrifice on our behalf.  We are forever blessed.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Greetings from Romania where this past week we celebrated Women's day.  Romanians thought it was an international day.  We explained that in America we celebrate the second Sunday in May as Mother's day.  They were surprised and thought our holiday sounded odd.  

This is not a head stone.  They are all over Romania and tell you how far to the next city.  Here it is 4 kilos to Sibiu

 The other side says 1 kilo to Selimbar.  Since we are really close to our house we're not sure where they get the 1 kilometer.  Also this is the only one we've ever seen on a sidewalk.  Mostly they are out along roadways where there are no sidewalks.  This one was probably installed originally along a roadway that is now in a city.

P day this week was zoo day.  I had thought to never go to a zoo again since our 18 months in Uganda gave us the most amazing animal experiences.  Going to a zoo would be boring after that but Eugen (middle figure) wanted to go for his birthday and since it only cost 75 cents American we decided to humor him with our presence.

Fun taking pictures of the missionaries.  They were as animated as the animals. 

 Elder Brown with the green Python.  Good thing there was a glass between him and the man or the man would have disturbed his rest.

A very active tiger.  Maybe he was new to prison life because he was a pacer. 

Seeing and smelling these orange blossoms reminded me that even in winter you can have a touch of Arizona if you have a very large South facing atrium.  

There were no giraffes (our favorite) or elephants but they did have a very rare wolf.  I guess we didn't get a picture of it.  Ummm

Moving from upper level of the zoo to the lower level where the smaller animals are housed.  A lovely lake in the background for water fond critters.

Been teaching our friend Claudio and his wife Monica the gospel.  They always fix us an herbal tea when we come to buy and we always leave them with a new message about the gospel.  

Instead of a waffle dinner after district meeting we went to Max's restaurant.  To begin the weekend of saying good-by to Sora Trebas who will be going home soon and Elder Hubbard who we found out Sat. will be transferred to Bucharest on Tue.  Max's is famous because the President of Romania who lives in Sibiu often dines here on the weekend.

Elder Hellewell couldn't help himself.  After he finished this delectable desert he asked our permission to use his fingers to get every morsel of yumminess.  When the waiter came to collect his plate he even commented on how clean it was.  Elder Hellewell isn't so fond of vegetables however but we have been working on him.  

Relief Society card making activity.  The other three sister members of the branch were not able to come and Alexandra was disappointed but we had three missionaries and three investigators which in our mind was a success.

The three investigators were from our beginning English class.  All three of them got a certificate for being to at least 6 of the 8 classes.

 I'm ashamed to say I don't even know their names.  We had about 20 students and my brain can't remember unusual names even when they had name tags on.  We just praised them a lot and they loved learning.

Saturday thirteen of the twenty here got certificates for the beginning English class.  In two weeks we'll start again.  In Iasi many came back for the next session so we'll see what happens here.

Everyone wanted to go see Johnny's parents.  (mother only one in this picture) Even though they aren't members they are proud of their son on a mission in England.  We're all praying that some day they join the church. With only 5 seats in the car we had one elder in the trunk to make the 10 mile trip. 

Branch picture - March 13, 2016 composed of one investigator, 6 members and 6 missionaries.  It sure is hard to get the members to come consistently.  We should have at least 10 members and we sometimes do but not today.

Tomorrow the Sisters head to Bucharest.  Sister Yost will come back with a new companion and sister Trebas will meet up with her parents to spend 10 days touring the mission.  We'll actually have them back here next weekend.  Elder Hubbard will also leave us so we had a waffle supper Sunday night as our last official get to-gether at our house.

If you could see your inner thoughts all standing in a row  -  would you be proud to show them off -- or don't you really know.  Roger gave this poem in his Sacrament Meeting talk today.  I felt it was a good reminder and a good goal for the week to watch that our thoughts are something we could be proud of.