Sunday, 31 January 2016

Jan 31 2016. Here are a few pictures from Moldova, it is not a pretty time of year. The top 2 are looking out the window of the apartment we are borrowing for a few days [until we find one] Most of the buildings are the old Soviet type blocks, large, solid and rather ugly. As one can see, they look rather slummy, but are often nice inside [once you are past the cold, dark scary stairs that interestingly are called in Romanian-scara] The field is junky, but 2 more blocks are being planned. Parking is also scary, there is about one spot for every 10 apartments. Next is a picture of the Church, a renovated house with 3 floors being used. The sign is the Romanian name for the Church. The final pic is of the street; the parking lot is the sidewalk as there is nowhere else to park. We went to Church for the first time and met lots of people whose name we could not remember. There are 14 young elders and sisters here, 5 in the Russian branch and 9 in the Romanian branch. Most of those at Church are younger, 15-35 range with some smaller children. We sat thru Sacrament meeting with no translator; Lynn could understand important words like -and, because, then. Deb had a translator for Sunday School, Lynn was rather stubborn and tried to pick out words. He did notice that most Moldovans would feel comfortable as auctioneers. The members were nice and we did meet most of the young adults we will be dealing with. The names- well, that will come with time. We continue to be completely lost in the city when being driven around; apparently a car is waiting for us when we are ready, we are thinking maybe in a year or so. We will be looking for a place to live tomorrow- hopefully much closer to downtown as this one is a long way out. Can we say culture shock?!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Jan 30,2016.  This post will have no pics. We arrived in Chisinau yesterday, after a long trip. It began in Salt Lake City on Jan 28 at 7 am [we were up at 3 am]. We flew first to Atlanta, then on to Amsterdam. Each of the first 2 layovers were about 2-3 hours. We felt that was okay, less chance to lose luggage. [Amazing , it all made it to Chisinau] Just before flying out of Amsterdam, Lynn was called to the desk at the gate and told he had a phone call. It was Mette, telling about Grandpa Edwards and his deteriorating medical condition. Frankly, it was a miracle to find us and the news was not good. [As of today, he is a bit better, but still in serious condition.] Lynn relayed his opinion on how to proceed, and we flew to Bucharest with heavy hearts. Bucharest airport was a cold place, that began with a very nice, thorough patdown of Lynn by a most unfriendly agent. We then scrambled over the airport to try to get boarding passes for our last leg [different airline, could not get in USA] This was not accomplished until 25 minutes before our plane left. Unbeknownst to us, our mission president had sent a couple to the airport to find us and they were not allowed in. So a well prepared lunch went for naught. We were quite worried waiting there, wondering if we would get on; however we met a wonderful young Moldovan, Elijah, who helped us and made sure we got on our plane. He also shepherded us through the Customs in Chisinau. We have his number and will be in touch with him. He was surviving on his own after being raised in an orphanage. He was a wonderful first impression of Moldovans. Our plane in Bucharest was a 50 seat prop plane, nice and small to make Deb comfortable. Now we do need to say, this was Deb's first trip across an ocean and she is not at all fond of flying. Our trip was all done well and she coped very well. We both feel it was due to grandchildren's and children's prayers. We were met in Chisinau by all 3 couples serving there, the Cooley's x2 , [unrelated] and the Vogelbergs. They were all very kind and took us to eat on arrival in a nice Moldovan restaurant, Andy's Pizza. We were then taken to our temporary home, an apartment in an old soviet bloc type building, cement and all, the 4th floor of a 13 story building. No superstition here. We will be here for a few days; it is such a maze to find that we probably could not leave if we wished. That night we shed some tears; as Mom's funeral was just beginning as we went to bed. Mette facetimed us and showed us Mom in her coffin, then e all had some tears as well as some greetings from family. Boy, that may have been the hardest emotional time, just not being there and knowing Dad was also very illand not present. We are so thankful for family who have covered this family crisis and allowed us to serve. We will post pictures later, after going around the city and trying to buy groceries , we are in a bit, a huge bit, of culture shock. It will probably wear off in a while, but that will not be quick. More on that tomorrow; now we are grateful to be safe and are grateful Dad is still alive and maybe slightly improving. We thank God for that. We truly could feel the support of family and friends through this time. By the way, we did get a call from President Ivory at the very end of the day, telling us his fun and to let us know we were not forgotten. He is coming next week to see us. As the day winds down, jet lag is rearing her ugly head, so we will put ours to bed.
Jan 30 2016. A couple more pictures from the MTC and there should be no more, we almost promise. The first is a couple from Washington, going on their second mission, despite being so young looking. They are the Mortenson's from Washington, going to Armenia on a CES mission. And I thought Romanian was hard. They are 2 wonderful, knowledgable people who are just plain brave; there is little English spoken in Armenian. The next picture shows a beautiful young sister from our ward, Naomi Rice, who we found the last day of or MTC experience, just as she began hers. She will be serving in Idaho after she gets a USA visa- they are slow with her, just like our son. She will begin her mission in Halifax and will get home about the same time as us in 2017. She will be fabulous, well prepared and motivated. What a treat to find her  and give her a hug! As Elder Edwards is old, that was okay.
Jan 30 2016.  Here are some more pictures from the MTC. This is a final picture of us with the Alstons. We have become very good friends and will certainly meet again after both of our missions are done. Next  is a picture of Dave and Marlene Nelson from Barnwell. We knew them previously, but got very close to them while together. They are serving in the Phillipines.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

 Jan 26 2016  This is a picture of 1/3 of the couples who we are with in the  MTC. We are next to our dear friends, the Alstons, who are on our right. We have become very close. It has been a difficult 2 days as our mom, Verla Edwards, died on the morning of January 25 in the Bow Island Health Center. Many of these people here have been very supportive and sympathetic, and it would have been hard to manage this time without them. We have managed to do this as we knew Mom was going to die while we were gone and both she and Dad wanted us to know they wished us to serve the Lord on a mission. It is still very hard, but we take comfort in the fact she is now at peace. It is hard to express our thanks to the wonderful people who work in the Bow Island Health Center; for the incredible care they gave to both Mom and Dad during the last few weeks. They did more than we ever expected and were so kind to all of our family. We must especially mention Laurie Haynes, a dear family friend, who we were told was an angel to our Mom and Dad. We knew she would do no less. How grateful we are to be from a small country town with such exemplary care. We mourn, but know we have competent caring family who will look after Dad. Mom's funeral will be on Jan. 29, and we will have been in Moldova about 5 hours by then. We love her and revere her life and will carry on as she asked us to. It is our duty.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Jan 23, 2016. This is a post after our first week at the MTC or Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. We have had a fantastic week, learning how to teach and overcome many of our fears. We have been pleasantly surprised by many things, in some ways even by ourselves. The first picture is Deb and Lynn at the famous world map, pointing to our mission location in Moldova. No visit to the MTC is complete without a picture of where one's mission is. In the MTC, we were divided into districts to facilitate small group teaching. There were 43 senior couples who arrived together at the MTC on January 18. The middle picture is of our district. From the right, the Gierkes, from Las Vegas, who will be serving in Morristown, New Jersey; the Hights, from Midway, Utah who will serve in Denver,Colorado , the Henrys from Tri-Cities, Washington, who will serve in Omaha,Nebraska and finally us. [Hey, kids, see your mom is actually in the pictures!]We grew in a few days to love those couples in that district. The last picture is of us with 2 other couples, from right, the Pughs from Wales who will serve in the Phillipines, the Alstons from Loomis, California, who will serve in Birmingham, England and then us. It has been most interesting to see how quickly friendships develop. We met the Alstons on Sunday and we hit it off right away, becoming friends almost instantly. They are wonderful gifted people who will be a great blessing to England. His sense of humor is almost as bizarre as Lynn's . We feel greatly blessed by being here and cannot explain the spirit of the MTC. Our comfort zone has been battered and we re better for it. We greatly anticipate the remainder of our stay. Our flight plan has changed and we now fly out on Jan 28 and will arrive in Chisinau on Jan 29. It has been great. A highlight for us was hearing Janice Kapp Perry, a famous LDS composer. She was brilliant and funny and wonderful to listen to. In a word, fabulous.
 Jan 16, 2016. This is the last picture we took prior to leaving Bow Island. As you can see, it was a cold winter day, -18C, with lots of snow. We will still miss our home, but know Beth and Russell will care for it. We will add a picture later when all is green.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The beginning

 This will be a blog for Debby and Lynn Edwards as they begin a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We will be serving in the Romania-Moldova mission, specifically serving in the city of Chisinau. We have been called as CES missionaries, but will almost certainly be wearing other hats as we begin to work over there. Today is January 14, 2016. We have had a number of challenges as we have prepared to leave.  The most obvious ones have been work related as Lynn has closed his medical practice and there has also been some family health problems, some very serious. Lynn has been attempting to learn Romanian over the last few months and that has also been an interesting challenge. We recently found out we do not have a place to stay on our arrival, but there are people in Chisinau who are looking. Our daughter, Bethany Hillyer, her husband and family will be "baby-sitting" our house for the next 18 months.  We leave on Saturday to fly down to Provo, Utah to spend 10 days in the MTC  or Missionary Training Center. then we fly overseas. We still do not have our flight plans, but have faith they will arrive soon. Both of us are nervous, excited and ready to go to work. This is something we have planned for years and we are anxious to get started. The other exciting part of this time is that our youngest son, Brendan, is also on an LDS mission, going to serve in New Mexico Albuquerque [although he is now in Edmonton, waiting for a US visa]. It is a time of change for all of us. We anticipate growth.