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
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
April 22nd, Thirty eight years ago Rand and Julie Brown were married in the Provo Temple. This picture is more like 35 years old, the only one we brought with us on our computer. Sometimes I forget that most my life I had dark brown hair and Rand wore a mustache. This picture was taken where we spent part of our honeymoon, on Lake Powell. At this time Rand's employer hosted a the boat trip at the lake.
Here we are in our late 60's enjoying some of the perks of serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is Bran Castle, about 2 hours from our home in Sibiu Romania.
View of the castle in the evening the night before and close to our lodging.
Our anniversary day was bright and beautiful, a change from the last few days.
Walk leading up to the ancient castle first built of wood in the 1300. After it was destroyed it was rebuilt of stone and brick
The week was a "no black-board day" for school children which meant field trips to the local historic sights. Here are two of the chaperones who we followed behind. They were part of those hearding about 50 eight year olds. The man on the left was a father of one of the girls and the bus driver. The man on the right, a high school student who had volunteered his time. they both spoke English and began the tour with us explaining as we went along.
We were at the back of this body of students with our special guides whispering in our ear what was being said by the woman up front. The picture on the wall is of the man who first had the castle built. I think.
Rand wanted this picture of the wall where the plaster had been cut away to show the original wall.
Here is our friend at the top of the secret stairway. It had a door so not sure why it was called secret. At first their was no light on the stairway but by the time you got to the top it was lit as shown.
Looking down to the center of the courtyard
Beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. So glad the rain went away for the day.
Clothing display of the ancients. By this time we've lost our English speaking guides so all we can do is take pictures and guess.
In the early 1900's this castle was given to Queen Mary of Romania. This was one of her outfits and she raised her son and several daughters here. When she died the castle was given back to the Romanian people for their enjoyment.
We bought a book on the castle. This may be Vlad the Impaler the man some think was the inspiration for Dracula the Vampire. These two didn't have much in common but some say the reason this castle was considered the Dracula castle was because Vlad came here There is no no proof of that either. All fairy tails we guess.
Somebody's royal crown.
Weapons wall. Scary to be sure.
We loved walking around the village that you can see here from the castle.
Looking up from inside the courtyard
Can you just see Mary's family coming down these stairs to the courtyard? They were living in a very ancient castle. I wonder if they ever warmed up in the winter? Maybe they lived somewhere else in the winter. Part of the tour info we would have missed since we don't speak Romanian.
Some sort of scales in the court yard.
Court yard looking up at the zillions of school children everywhere.
Our goal as missionaries is to have meaningful conversations every day. We had had three on our tour but had lost track of our earlier guides that we wanted to give our Easter card to that directs them to the church's website that teaches about Jesus Christ and the true meaning of Easter. As we left we ran into this American from New York state. He said he was living in Germany and working with a group of non-denominationals who are trying to figure out how to use media to bring people to Christ. Wow, we gave him our East card and told him to check out the mormon.org web site to see if they could learn anything that would help them from what our church does. He was so impressed and happy that we gave him the card. Kind of surprised us. We hope these kind of "meaningful conversations" lead people to Christ as taught by the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We asked him to take a picture of the two of us and include the cross at the bottom right and the top of the castle. He teased us that we were trying to get him to include an awful lot. If he only knew.
Really enjoyed walking around the beautiful grounds of the castle after our tour. There were two ponds that workers were fishing in. Neglected to get that picture.
Not sure what this stone structure was. Kind of reminded us of a theater but when we actually sat in it we couldn't figure out where the play would have taken place. A reception maybe?
After a lunch and a short nap we headed to Peles Castle about an hour away. This castle closed at 5 and we got there at 5:25. Saved for another trip. This castle is a mansion like built in the 1800s. It is well preserved and has a lot of beautiful furnishings our missionary friends in Bucharest tell us. Anyone want to join us? We can go back, we know the way.
It rained the whole way and seemed to get worse the closer we got to our four hour destination. It was a trip we had not made from our new home. The first part of the trip was mountainous and beautiful. When the rain got really heavy we were in more open road with a freeway - added blessing.
I was pretty sure I didn't want to trade our pretty green car for a blue. Check out the license plate.
Elder Brown thought we ought to at least check out the bigger car.
As you see, with Rand holding our suitcase, the new blue won us over with many upgrades that our bare bone green didn't have. the problem we had was that the green car, by the time we decided to trade, had already been sent to have winter tires replaced with summer tires. Our belongings were difficult to round up as they had set some of our stuff out at the mission storage so they could put four tires in the car to travel to the tire store. Thanks to the Majerans, the office couple who found the items we missed and sent them to us with this last transfer.
Now that we've been here 6 months we are running into some of our beloved missionaries. Elder Hubbard now serves in Bucharest and was at the mission office looking up something in Arabic for an investigator who speaks that language.
Next we drove to Ploisti to spend the night on our way to Brasov. There is an actual church building for the members in Ploisti. We went there for our first zone conference the day after we arrived in Romania last Oct. We took time to find the building and sure enough, more missionaries that we either knew or had heard of. They helped us find the nearest grocery store. Missionaries are always ready to pose for a picture.
The mall with the grocery store had a fun celebration of spring. It was still rainy so nice to be indoors.
We enjoyed our hotel, Vigo Grand Hotel because it had a bath tub to soak in after cold rain for the last two days.
Our reason for traveling to Brasov was to do apartment checks in the three missionary apartments there. With no senior couple, we were assigned the job. We got a picture of the elders but forgot when we got to Sora Wyatt and Sora Jerez's apartment. We knew the sisters and had more fun talking and forgot to get pictures.
The Elders were easy to find and both lived in the same apartment complex. They did a great job cleaning their apartments and were so proud.
Our Elder Cochran, now serving in Sibiu had served in Brasov and recommended we check out Sapte Scari (seven ladders). This was a hike to waterfalls accessed by ladders. It sounded just our style and we had an afternoon to spare and the views were magnificent.
So glad that the rain had let up and we didn't have to carry an umbrella to the hiking trail we only had vague directions to.
Our vague directions led us directly to the trail, so fortunate.
Here is the water from the water fall. Now, how far to the falls?
The spring green in the deciduous trees was so strikingly beautiful and the trail was longer than we suspected.
Laced throughout the area were ramps to zip lines. Not sure how you get to use those but they must have a ball. This is one of the zip line ladders not the water fall ladders.
An hour and a half later we find the ladders.
This ladder was 4 stories. Most were less than two stories high but the scenery magnificent
This is the Jewish couple from Israel who helped me get back to the car. Rand and I got separated when he went looking for a tree to take a leak. Thinking I would go a ways and wait up we got separated and I got so turned around I kept ending up back at the ladders. Guess I hadn't had enough of them but I was becoming exhausted and the ranger at the "ladders" didn't speak English and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. After the second return he hooked me up with this couple and I followed them till I got past the place where I was getting turned around. So glad, they were such sweet people to help out an old lady.
Rand came looking for me and it was a happy reunion. Here is another view of our new car. It is such a joy to ride in even though I can't find it in the parking lot.
Tomorrow is our 38th wedding anniversary so we decided to take the day and visit Bran Castle. Next blog page will feature that trip.