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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sister Gubar's Christmas Eve birthday

Always felt sorry for those whose birthday fell so close to Christmas.  "Here is your Birthday and Christmas gift", didn't seem fair. 

So we made a big deal of this birthday.  Chocolate cake with candy cane sprinkles on top and chocolate chips saying Happy B-day.

Our First find in chocolate chips were so big we cut them in half.  Now the ones available are about 1/3 the size of those at home.  This package costing about a dollar filled 1/2 cup.

After blowing out the candles and before eating the cake we went to dinner.  This parking lot is usually jam packed. Guess Romanians stay home for the most part Christmas Eve.

Rand drove but we still had to walk some. 

 Humidity turning to ice made the trees look so lacy.  

 Deciding what to get for lunch

 Figured it out - now for the wait

Sora Strader's idea of waiting.

She heard the snickering.

 This is the Christmas tree we found in the basement.  Alex joined the missionaries for the pose.

 Twin shirts.  Where can I get me one?

 Visited members throughout the week telling them that Sunday would only be for one hour.  Anita Doncu will not be able to come but she sent her love.  

She is the only member in the family.  Her husband is catholic and the son & wife orthodox.  We had never met her husband and thought this was him as he told us about Romanian Christmas traditions.  Turns out he was just the TV repairman.

The computer monitor quit working.  Pres. Craciun hooked the projector up to the computer so that we could continue to use the computer.  Hoping to get the new monitor  the first of 2017.

 Wed. was Zone Conference in Cluj.  We drove up the day before so that we could stay awake for the conference.  The city center was just beautiful.

Sora Day and I during lunch.

 Hung the sheet out on our clothes line in the garage.  When we realized it was froze solid we brought it in.  We discovered if we turn the heat up in the house and lay things over the radiators they dry much faster.   It didn't get much above freezing all week.  Mostly it's below freezing.

 Reindeer appeared on our last roundabout heading home.

We were commissioned by Pres. Ivory to make up a fruit basket for our branch president.  Had a ball doing that.

 Rand's been saving this tie to wear all year 

 Rand could see the library at the church was filling up with old lesson manuals from the President's of the church.  When we got the new Gordon B Hinckley books we started giving the old ones out to members with a Christmas bow on them.  Hope they'll make good use of them.

 Christmas brings out some that haven't been for a long time.

 Ioan standing with his reactivated member.  He ran into Bro. Stoica and invited him back to church.  He came.

Bro. Stoica brought Rand and I this Christmas bouquet with redish  colored orchids.  So pretty.

After our one hour Sacrament meeting we hurried home to finish getting ready for the Missionaries Christmas dinner.  

 Everyone got a stocking.  Felt a little like home at this point.

 Sora Gubar's family tradition had never included getting a stocking filled with gifts.

 Elder Winder with his stocking

 Sora Strader checking out the contents of her stocking

 Elder Dixon wondering if his tree ornament rings.

 They brought us a framed (in brown to match our name) picture of our Christmas District.

 I even made roles and red Christmas jello.

 Sora Gubar always volunteers to wash the dishes.

 Found a deck of Rook cards and Elder Winder taught us how to play.  It's been years since I've played Rook and definitely didn't remember the rules.

 The highlight for the missionaries was skyping with their families.

 We had two lap tops

 An I-phone and an

 I-pad.  Each missionary took a different room and Rand and I were wondering if we'd ever get to visit with our family.

 Fortunately we visited with Kensie and the Findlays earlier.  We got to visit with Eagars, Conners, Braithwaites & Kara after the missionaries went home.

Early Monday morning we finally got to talk to Andrew and family.  It wasn't till the missionaries were taking pictures of their skyping sessions that we got our camera out to do the same thing.

Sorry we didn't get to talk to Chase and Tiffany but they sent us a lovely Christmas card.

The Monday after Christmas was the highlight of the week for us.  Our friend and branch president, Radu Stoica from Iasi paid us a visit.  He and his wife Dominica were headed for Poland where she is from.

 Radu's parents were also traveling with them and they all spent the night with us.  Maria is his Mother and I was her visiting teacher.  She understands a little English but does not speak it.  Her husband does not speak or understand any English.  They brought us some real grape juice from their garden and Romanian potato salad.  So yummy.

 Sora Gubar served in Iasi and wanted to get with the Stoica's too so we had a party on centre.

We even climbed the tower to get a birds eye view of the Christmas festivities.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and the preparation didn't overcome the simple beauty of the Christ Child born in a manger.  A gift from our Heavenly Father.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints and angels sing, 
And Saints, and Saints and angels sing.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The reason we're here.

Drove the Soras to teach Mariana.  We were able to move from the bedroom this week to the living room as the other roommates were not there.  She is the kind of investigator that missionaries love teaching.  We're praying she will continue to want to learn more.  

Since I drove this week we didn't have to wait for Elder Brown to come get us.  Happy missionaries.

 How can you play a violin when it is so cold?  The little girl even played in tune.  The snow was beginning to pile up on the instrument when she finally had to quit. We love being in Centru and enjoying the festivities. 

 Elder Dixon takes being district leader seriously.  He is a good missionary and good translator.  I was assigned to talk on "Paying tithing and how it has blessed our family" today in Sacrament meeting.  He stood beside me and gave the same talk in Romanian.

 Ioan Hadar was one of the two Self Reliance students that made it through many of the classes.  He says he has learned a lot.  It was a little hard for us to know know for sure as he speaks only limited English.  

 Florin Illes attend all the classes and will get a certificate.  He has changed considerably in the last three months.  Now his business is only a side business as he seeks employment at Horn bachs, he hopes to get the position of gardening specialist. (Home Depot like store)

 We had several rehearsals during the week but never did get everyone there.  Even in the performance we had to substitute missionaries for a couple parts.  The Branch President really wanted the members to do all the parts.  7 of 9 was actually pretty good.

 The chapel was starting to fill up.  We had more in the audience than performers which was good for Sibiu Branch.

 The photographer on the right is Pres. Craciun's father.  Both of his parents and a niece came to the program and his mother made all the sarmale.  Pres. Craciun was extremely pleased.  I don't know if any of his family had ever been to the church before.

 Elder Dixon welcoming the audience and introducing the program.

 Sora Strader had to fill in as the angel and also lead the Christmas songs between each part.  She began with the famous "Fear not, for behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy..."

Angels we have heard on High

 Alex was the innkeeper who did not have room in his inn for Mary, Joseph and the heavenly child.  Our theme for the play was the "Symbols of Christmas" and he explained that Christ's never ending love for each of us is depicted in the Christmas tree, an evergreen plant that promises green through all seasons of our lives.

 Elder Winder and Mihai were the shepherds that carry a shepherds crook, a reminder that for every lost soul there is a loving merciful shepherd who watches over us.  Elder Winder then put candy canes on our tree as Mihai who actually does walk with a cane reminded us that the Savior is the good Shepherd of us all and would not leave even one of us behind.

Our Christmas program had two short videos in it.  The first one talked about Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  It also talked about Jesus going to the Americas as told in the Book of Mormon.  Since it was in English Florin translated it and gave the dialogue during the presentation.  He had it down perfectly to go with the video whose sound was turned off.

Audience singing a Romanian Christmas song not found in the English Hymnal.  We used it instead of "Away in a Manger" as it also told of the Saviors birth.  

 The three wisemen "magi" in Romanian wore crowns made from rolled up t-shirts then formed into a circle and wrapped with the ribbon from table decorations from Thanksgiving.  Here Eugen is putting the star on the tree which was their symbol that they followed to find the Christ child.

 Florn has a beautiful voice and sang the one Christmas song that was not in their hymnal, "With Wondering Awe".

 Pres. and Sora Craciun were the Mary and Joseph.  Sora Craciun thought everyone should memorize their parts and she did memorize hers.  Everyone else just read theirs but the pianist, Sora Gubar said the spirit was so strong during the performance even though we were a pretty amateur group.

 Mihai loves to have his picture taken with the other members after the performance.  Here he is with Sora Strader, Eugen and Elder Winder.

Pres. Craciun dishing up the sarmale. Next everyone was invited upstairs for a traditional Romanian Christmas dinner, Sarmale, bread and sour cream.  The Soras brought brownies for dessert.

Rand and I decorated the tables.  Christmas wrapping cut in squares for the center of each table made it simple.  We had 23 that stayed for dinner.  Unfortunately not all Romanians like Sarmale.  They missed out as this was the best we'd eaten since arriving here.  I think they were hoping for ham or turkey.  Alex was our innkeeper.  He spends a lot of time at the gym staying in shape or more important having the best physic possible. 

The final video for our play was the one put on by the church.  We went to great effort to get it in Romanian.  The only words were at the very end where they wrote the words from Matthew 5:14.  Wouldn't you know, we forgot to plug in the computer and after using it in English then Self Reliance it ran out of battery half way through this wonderful Christmas video.
Please watch an enjoy, you may have to copy and paste.

Merry Christmas from Romania