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, September 25, 2016

Last week was our first introduction to this wild flower/sunflower.  Now they are all over town in the                fields and uncultivated areas.  

See, no brown centers.

We are learning to do the new English program.  Unfortunately, Simona, who is 7 months pregnant decided she was too uncomfortable to be out and about and has decided she can't finish the course personally.  With the new program we can help her on line which is what she wants to do.  So in the mean time we have only Florin, again as our advanced student.

We also mentioned a couple weeks ago the Self Reliance class that we were planning to begin on the 17th.  We didn't have it with the district Pres. since he decided he couldn't make the 4.5 hr trip to over see the class when we couldn't promise a good turn out.  Our plan was to invite not only branch members but also English students and investigators.   Without his support we decided to go ahead and only do the class with branch members that want to start or grow a business.  We had 5 that were in that category so have now had three of the classes which will end two weeks before Christmas if all goes as planned.  I just keep forgetting to take a picture of the group.  It is quite stressful to facilitate with most speaking English but one that doesn't speak much.  The two languages really tires us out.  Fortunately we have English speakers that can translate for us when Ion speaks or doesn't understand some of the "English only" videos.

Not sure why they delete the "Ho" in hospital.  I guess cause it is Romanian and not English.

Passed this sign several times this week working on our Branch party.  We bought fabric and notions for our projects and the hospital is close to the fabric store.

Designed this invite for members, English students and investigator friends to attend our branch barbecue Sat. afternoon. The bottom says that the Relief Society will be learning to sew a scripture bag.  

French fries are a big deal here in Sibiu so we scoured the town looking for a reasonably priced frier.  Found this professional strainer at a restaurant supply store and this stainless pan under the sink at the church.  Worked quite well together to cook enough fries for the 20 who came to the party.

 Cami came early and helped cut out the 8 bags we planned to make.

Sora Lanuta (left) got a new job and can be more active now for which we are so happy.  She joined us for a few minutes but said she really didn't like to sew.  She decided the men needed help with the cooking for which they were happy for the help.  Other two ladies are a mother/daughter in beginning English.

 Elder Swafford taught these two sisters English in Bucharest.  They decided to come join our Relief Society and made themselves a scripture bag.  Cami and these two cut out the bags before learning to sew.

 Sora Alexandra brought her sewing machine so with mine we had two.  We had no idea who would come and were surprised we had eight ladies to make eight bags.  Only sora Armstrong and Chandler knew how to sew.

 We helped the two Bucharest sisters finish their bags.  The rest of the ladies live in Sibiu so can help them finish their bags at their convenience.

Elder's Swafford and Jerome came up to check on their Bucharest friends.  

Tom wearing one of the six aprons Rand had me make for the brethren who helped with food.  

 Some liked wearing an apron more than helping with the barbecue.  

 Sandu was in charge and likes to cook.  Fun to see how you put on a Romanian barbecue.  

 About 1/4 of the attendees were vegetarian so a tomato, cuke, onion and bell pepper salad along with mushrooms cooked with a dab of cheese in the center and zucchini sliced, spiced and toasted before serving was their fare.  The rest of us had mici burgers, a combination of spiced meets that come in a long shape but not incased like sausage.  We're kind of afraid to ask what of the beef and pork is in mici.

 Florin on the right set up the table and chairs outside.  He has been loosing 5 kilos a week for the last several weeks.  He has become quite committed to not eating meat.   Other two gentlemen are English students.

 Barbecue set up just off the kitchen beyond the cement slab that is the roof to the building garage.  Very nice area and the first time we've used it for any reason.

 Going to Deva again Sunday.  Tried again to get a photo of the Hollywood sign spelled Haliwuud if I can read it right up there on the mountain.

 Just want to remember the different seasons of the year as we head into fall.

 Not much left of the sun flowers but the black centers even more visible this time of year.  Sunflower seed oil is the prime oil used here in Romania.

Closer look at the large centers.  We're interested to learn how they are harvested and processed.

So glad that Arick, Danielle, Nicole and Natalie got to go together to the Women's Conference in SLC.  Hope all our other daughters were able to watch it live on Sat. evening.   I'm not going to leave a spiritual thought this week.  Instead I'm going to go watch the Conference with Rand who wants to watch it with me.  Maybe we'll report on it next week for our spiritual thought.

Monday, September 19, 2016

President Brown is full of ideas for helping this little branch progress spiritually.  He noticed that no one brings their scriptures to church.  Some of course use their electronic devises but most don't.  We always have to get out scriptures for Sunday School and no matter how much he has encouraged them to bring their personal scriptures it hasn't happened.  New idea - the Relief Society to make everyone that wants one a scripture case.  Will that make a difference?  We'll see.  

The Relief Society President has a sewing machine.  It cost her approximately $100.  Rand decided we would buy one and with two machines we think we can pull this off.  We bought a german made machine that I'm learning to use.  When we go home we are planning to donate it to the branch if we don't think of a better use.  So excited to do a little sewing in my spare time.  I have a lot more spare time than Rand does.

 Lidle is a grocery/variety store that has specials.  We just happened on the week the sewing machine was being carried.  We bought the last one.  Thanks for prayers answered.

It sets nicely in the living room where most people keep a TV

There are no patterns in Sibiu, I know, I asked.  Was told they are available on the internet.  So invented this simply designed bag of waterproof material.  Cost will be under $3 per bag.  If my machine won't sew the straps on we have a professional seamstress we can pay to do that part.

 Flowers in the front yard are still breathtaking.  Last week temperatures during the day were in the high 70's, low 80's.  Predictions this week are mid 60's so the flower flourishing time is coming to an end.  So sad.

 Zinnias and marigolds are outshining the roses.

 One of the biggest celebrations for Sibiu is the "Media Music awards" for Romania broadcast from Piazza Mara.  We checked out the celebration but didn't stay.  The crowd was bigger than any we'd ever seen.  Music not really our kind but it sure was huge for Sibiu

Piazza Mica had two cars ready to drive in with the music award stars.  If we had understood the language or knew any of their stars it would have been more interesting to stay.

Simona is one of our two advanced English students.  (Florin didn't make it to the first lesson).  Our format has changed drastically.  Professional curriculum writers and senior missionaries in Moldova, the Cooleys have standardized all the lesson so that we now have a 20 week course instead of 4.  As transfers come up the new missionaries can step right in and keep the same students learning for a much longer time.    The course is computer interactive which has been easy for us since we have our own laptops  The Jr. missionaries have found ways to teach without using the computer.

We found the first week we needed more material and liked the part of our last lessons where we learn the vocabulary from a story.  After reading the story we discuss it.  Our students are proficient in English and mainly want to practice what they already know so that goes well.  Rand suggested we take excerpts from the book Pres. Ivory wanted us all to read, "How to Win Friends and Influence People".  It has worked out perfect with the first two classes.

 Still beautiful out at Johnny's parents, the Cernats.  Autumn leaves this year are turning brown instead of pretty colors.  Here we thought we'd get to see the pretty autumn leaves.

 Cernats tells us in two weeks the concord grapes will be perfect for harvesting.

 They already taste delicious

They also tells us this unusual fruit that we've never seen before will turn orange.  It is hard and needs to be cooked to make jam.  We each sampled the jam.  To me it tasted sweet with no definite flavor of its own.

 Can't help taking a picture of this lovely yellow daisy bush outside their main door.

 Cernats always let Rand scavenged through the raspberry bushes.  They are producing again and the best tasting so far this year.  Sora Armstrong likes them too.

 Bunches of yellow wild flowers through the country side on our way back to Sibiu.  These sunflower like flowers do not have a brown center.

 The no name sun flower has more a yellow center and grow tall and gangly.

Here is what's happening to our last zinnias of the summer.

It's better to remain Silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.  

English thought for the week while studying words in advanced English with silent letters.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Elder Swafford showing the excitement of Sibiu branch receiving the broadcast with Pres. Uchtdorf in Bucharest Monday night.  This is our second Apostle to visit Romania in less than a year and the first member of the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to ever visit.

Sora Lund, a former missionary to Romania also joined us for the broadcast.    Elder/Pres. Brown is getting proficient at setting up the projector and all things computer.  

Tuesday is swimming/gym day.  As I waited for Rand to come up from the gym I took pictures of the lobby that I want to remember.  The lady on the right is the one you pay for your swim.  She was just leaving the ticket booth when I took the picture.

In the lobby are mirrors and hair dryers.  Since all the swimmers have private dressing rooms they put the hair dryers and mirrors in the front lobby.  Feels kind of funny drying and styling your hair in such a public place. 

 Stairway down from the main floor to the gym.  It is such a fun place to get in shape.

Tuesday was hectic with member issues after swimming and packing to leave for the Missionary Convention.  It was a needed break for us and especially for Rand who didn't even have to drive.  A taxi took us to the train station and we enjoyed a 6 hour ride to Bucharest.

Beautiful scenery of the mountains near and beyond Brasov.  We're not usually this close to the mountains.

Spent the first night in Bucharest at Hotel Triumf.  This building was built in 1932 and served as a bank.  Later, remodeled as a hotel.  It is old but close to Romania's famous Arc de Triumf.  

We've seen pictures of the Paris monument and it's maybe 1/3 taller than this one.  We had to get up early for a 5 minute walk to catch this photo before we headed off to the meeting with Pres. Uchtdorf at Panduri branch.

 We were finally able to meet face to face with the Winders.  They are over Pathway and Self Reliance for the mission.  Sora Winders and I have such a good time visiting and comparing notes about our first missions to Africa.  They actually were in the MTC with one of our Uganda friends, the Holyoaks.  They were called to Romania just a week before their grandson received his call to the same mission.  How fun would that be?

 Reconnecting with our former missionaries as we wait for Pres. Uchtdorf to come.

 Our newest couple missionaries the Aldemans and Days

Pres. Uchtdorf finally arrives with Elder Kearn, the 70 over Europe and the Boom's another 70 from the Netherlands.

 We all got to shake Pres. Uchtdorf's hand.  He asked us couples where we were from.  When Rand told him we were from North Phoenix, close to Glendale he threw his arms around us.   Wow, how special that was.

Elder Kearn, Pres. Uchtdorf and Pres. & Sora Ivory with six Romanian missionaries that will be serving soon. 

 After a wonderful conference we all loaded the busses for the 3rd most beautiful castle in Europe.

We barely made the 2 1/2 hour trip in time to catch the last tour time at Peles castle.

Our English speaking guide inside the castle.  This is not a very old castle, built in the early 1800's for the king and queen of Romania.  

 Much woodwork in dark elegant wood.  

 Ceremonial crown

 Weapons display room

 The dates on these books from the library with some in the 1700's.

 This dining room seats 18 on each side.  I figure if you put a couple chairs on each end our whole family would just fit.

 Looking from a hall way into another room.  Lost track of them all.  This one had such a high ceiling there was a beautiful sky light of stained glass.  This was the only castle in Romania built after the invention of plumbing and electricity.  It had both installed and was very modern in it's day.

 Outside in the court yard we wanted to just hang out and enjoy being at the castle.  Since we were the last tour they rushed us out.  That's OK, we then headed to Cantacuzino Castle

 Charming sunflowers planted between other flowers about every 3 feet.  This castle had a van Gogh exhibit.  Could that be why the sunflowers?

 After a hectic day we finally had some free time to enjoy the scenery and go exploring.

 Vincent van Gogh exhibit was closed by the time we got there.  

After a lovely time to explore we dined on the patio under the stars with statues looking on.

 In the ball room we found ourselves for the last part of the day - a musical program put on by the talented missionaries.

 One wall of the ball room featured portraits of rulers from as far back as the 1500's.

 At the bottom of the stairs was this pedigree chart of the royalty.

 Thursday we all met in matching shirts for an early morning devotional in the conference room of our hotel.  We love hearing the testimonies of the missionaries and their amazing stories of their conversion.

 Buffet breakfast here we come.

 Today's program will be in Brasov chapel.  It's big enough to house the whole mission for a conference with the Boomes.

 What is holding up traffic?  Rand wanted a picture of this road edger(mower).  

 What a wonderful meeting we had with Elder Boom of the 70's and his wife.  They host a open house at their home every Tue night when they are at home for the missionaries to come by with their investigators.  They were so inspiring and are an example of members who have stayed in their own country and been blessed by the Lord for doing so.

 Dinner after the missionary meeting at Pres. Ivory's favorite Italian restaurant in Brasov, Il Prato with the Winders

 Edwards who are serving in Moldova

 Cooleys who also serve in Moldova

Vogelsberg, humanitarian couple in Moldova 

 Majerns are the office couple in Bucharest

 The Aldemans who serve in Baco

Booms with the Jeppson's who are the Humanitarian couple for Romania

 Some of the missionaries in Moldova have Russian name tags. Check that name out.

 Wow, we surely were fed well.  After this delicious desert we headed for the train station.

 A little slip up in communication.  The tour director didn't know we weren't going back to Bucharest with the rest of the missionaries so we just barely missed our train.  Luckily a member of the church from Cluj  (Bobo) was at the train station and helped us get on the next train to Sibiu.

 What a surprise Sunday when the Davis showed up.  they live in Sibiu and will be here for the Basketball season which ends next May.  He graduated from the same high school as Sora Armstrong.  She remembers him playing basketball when she was a Sophomore and he was a senior.

Our visitor was John Gay.  Turns out he is the son of Elder Gay of the 70 who over sees the Self Reliance program for the church.  John agreed to stand by our sign advertising our program that will begin next week.  The materials are all now translated into Romanian so we're ready to go.  John is an avid motorcyclist and was here on vacation with a biking group riding the beautiful Fagaras Mountains.

A few of my notes from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk:          Being grateful is the attitude we need for a positive life.  The important things of the gospel can be summed up in the "Plan of Salvation".  Where did we come from, why are we hear, where are we going after this life?       For us CTR means current temple recommend.  (Doesn't transfer into the Romanian language however).        Life may not be easy but we can be happy.  We love Pres. Uchtdorf.