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.