Monday, 25 April 2016

Service and such

April 25 2016  We just got home at the end of a very busy day. We began with going to the J Cooleys apartment as they were leaving today. We carried baggage into our old blue Opel, and they managed to squeeze 6 suitcases into the back of it, almost had to leave Sister Cooley behind. We have accumulated a lot of stuff-junk and we will have to dejunk, one of Debs favorite tasks. Then we went to the Church, we had unloaded a semi of charity donations from an organization in Holland, we had to take them all out, label and sort. About 400 boxes, + pillows, blankets, etc. A very generous people there, it will all be going to villages in the next 2 days. There was a considerable ammount of medical supplies as well. I got to be the expert labeller there. We worked about 3 hours, then went to lunch, then Deb and I returned to the Church building to teach a couple of classes. I will explain a bit more on this donation later. Family home evening at the church on Friday was a big success, over 30 people. We like to think it was the Edwards charm, but had more to do with banana splits. Anyway, we had a lot of fun. We have had a lot of rain, and the grass is green, rarely is it cut. Oh my, could I use a lawnmower around here. I talked to a man in the cemetery Saturday who was clipping the grass on his wifes grave with scissors. He certainly took excellent care. We have a new elder, Elder Brodskyy, born in the Ukraine, moved to Italy at age 5, USA at age 13, and now here, fluent in 7 languages. He came in on Wednesday a day late. He came on Turkish airways, we were looking for a flight from București, that was late, so we missed each other in a very small airport for 2 hours. Poor guy. I consoled his sorrows with fresh banana chocolate chip muffins and all was quickly forgiven. Quite an elder.
Our Friday night group, a few missionaries mixed in, but a very lively group.

We played a get to know you game. People sat across from one another, had 1.5 minutes to know names and ask 3 questions about the person. We then had a competition to see which team could remember best, with a prize.

Some knew each other, most did not, so it was  a good time, Elder Brodskyy is 2nd from the right. 

Something new, trying a short video. 

We had 3 teams, Elder Bekker in the middle was awe struck by the beauty of Sister Edwards. He has moved to Bălți this week, we will really miss him.

Okay, this is the group that helped us unload the trailer. It was parked south of the city as it was too big to come in. We unloaded 5  small truck loads of boxes and took them to the Church. From left, Elder Brown, Sparhawk, Bekker, Lundquist , with elder Paterson in the front.

Lots of medical equipment as well, you can see some older lifts here

Okay, now for the interesting part. We are unloading this trailer, near dusk, when a police car comes roaring up, lights flashing, sirens going. The police get out, and one is holding a machine gun, with his finger on the trigger. The other asks what we are doing and what is in the boxes. Ruslan, the member and guy in charge of it all, tells them and asks what they think they are doing , acting like we are criminals. They did leave, but they are truly unlike any police force we see at home. Nice touch, a machine gun.

The missionaries do a lot of good here, all behind the scenes. Today we had 5 again working very hard. A good group, dedicated to serve people in Moldova
Well, we have sent a couple home , the Cooleys, and we will greatly miss them. Our work load is sure to increase, but more importantly, their companionship will be missed, they did a great volunteer work here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Orhei Vechi 2

April 19 continued, I will publish the pictures and explain each. Again, a gorgeous day, I have got to find a hat. As the pictures testify, I am not growing hair here. I do think they grow almost anything else here, though.
The path up to the Church on top, all dirt and gravel, all the land underneath is limestone. Right now Deb is walking over the underground church.

Shows the small river, Râut Râu, and the church.

Small village of Butuceni, quite backward. All of the fences were painted blue and green. 

Inside the Church on the hill, very ornate, notice no seats at all?

The ceiling of the church on the hill. Reminded me a lot of church buildings in Italy.

We were not cross about doing this picture together.

Like a figurine on a ship, Deb on a cliff surveying what is to be.

The river was very noisy, at first we thought it was ducks. It was just big frogs, loud and very numerous. I thought some delicacy eating was in order, according to my wife, I was wrong.

This is the signage one sees when leaving any town or village, lets you know you are out of town limits. It is rather cool.

More frogs, literally hundreds,  a blue heron would be happy, happy , happy here.

Some of the carving in the cliffs where rooms were used in past years

There were 2 hang gliders as the valley and cliffs made it perfect. It was odd to see these in such a primitive setting, they caught enough wind that they would float around for several minutes and end up back on top to restart.
So that was the day, quite interesting, There were old walls hundreds of years old, but they kind of looked like - old walls. 

Orhei Vechi

April 19 2016. I apologize because there will be a lot of pictures this time. One of our beloved members, Nina, tells me I take pictures of EVERYTHING which is true I guess. So on Monday, our P day, we went to Orhei Vechi, an old church and monastery about an hour north of Chișinău. We went with the D Cooleys and that is always an enjoyable day. We toured the place, going thru some every primitive villages. I will explain as we go thru the pics. The fun part, on our way out , we stopped for a funeral procession, walking down the road, carrying a coffin. I said, look, the top is off the coffin. So they stopped right by us, put down the coffin and there he was , a corpse in full view of everyone. It was a little odd, I wanted pictures , but Deb said it would be in poor taste- like that has ever stopped me. Anyway, it was a picturesque day, 31 above. That night, we ended up teaching Institute on short notice, and had 12  student, 3 were missionaries, 2 were less active and 4 were non members. It was great, teaching brings us the greatest joy of anything we do here. such nice young people and such a spiritual lift for us.
Du Nguyen, Elder Brownell on left, Elder Swafford on the right. Elder S has picture issues, never can open his eyes or be serious.

This is almost our entire group at the Church after a baptism . From left, Deb, Elder D Cooley, me, Elder Gunn, Elder J Cooley, Elder Sparhawk, Elder Brownell, Sister N Cooley, Sister A Cooley, Sister Nichols, Sevghi Savran, Sister Draper, Sister Kitchen - in back, Sister Brinkman, Tolic, Elder Swafford, Du, Elder Paterson, and Elder Brown.

Did I mention how much this country loves red tulips? They are everywhere and are gorgeous. Most common place for them, in cemeteries.

A nice village well, with some fancy tiles on the side.

Debs favorite sight, we are making  a collection. 

The river and valley around the site. The farmland is intensely farmed, many workers were out and seeding, hand mostly.

All of those cows and horses have a rope or chain on them. Just imagine it.

To go into an Orthodox church, women must have their head covered. Deb would not , but sister Cooley showed their elegant head coverings, dish towels. Inside this rock was a church, very ornate. No pictures without paying  inside.

We found this church to be a holey place.

Stairs carved in rock to the Church inside, hundreds of years old. The stairs, that is.

A famous old cross, in all the pictures of this place. I do not know how old it is, but hundreds of years.

. I even taught in English, but it was translated into Russian and Romanian. Wow. Today we are working on lessons, institute and English, with a Piața trip in the middle to find string and tape and dice- for games. Well, now for the pictures. This may take 2 separate blogs to do.  Anyway, the place we visited was beautiful, the farmland is just fantastic, but mostly worked by hand and horse. We saw a couple of tractors on the smaller side. To be continued-

Friday, 15 April 2016

The week of rain and food

April 16 2016. We have had a week of mostly rain. I keep thinking we need to wash our poor Opel and then it rains. One day, maybe today as it is sunny right now. I am at our Church building, filling up our font, which takes about 3 hours, I was here at 530 am. One thing about it , traffic is nice early in the morning, it only took 15 minutes to get here. We have had a busy week. We have been working on English lessons, started Institute classes in Orhei, and will have a second baptism today. Thursday I was able to conduct a service in Romanian, after a lot of practice. It was okay, although I forgot to practice how to say refreshments and serve ( 2 types, human and food) so some English popped in. Wow , this language is a challenge. It is getting nice and green, tulips and daffodils are up. It is hard to describe how flower crazy this place is. If a man forgets to buy flowers here, it truly is grounds for divorce. And red, do they love red tulips. I hear the poppies are going to be beautiful as well. The best part- people are starting to smile, as the weather gets warmer and it gets greener. So today you get to see some of our food staples and the food labelling. Imagine going into your store with these labels. Sometimes the pictures help, sometimes not.
Okay, these are two of the breads we eat. On our left, ciabatta bread, and it is delicious. Fresh, it is the closest to Debs bread. The other is Horvatski bread, a little darker, full of sunflower seeds and cheese. Oh my, it is like a full meal deal. These are the 2 favorites-  Cost- the first about 60 cents, the second about 70 cents.

This is the chocolate pudding Deb almost tackled Elder Sparhawk  for. We obviously could not read the label, but it is fantastic chocolate pudding, closet thing to her chocolate milk, which they do not have, the other is butterscotch. Just in case you could not read the label.

On the left, Debs favorite juice, an apple grape mix. Very nice and again the label is not helpful. The picture is. On the right, the best milk we have found. It is on the shelf until opened, but is quite good. Types of milk here- 0.5%, 1.5%, 3%, 6%. The last is just cream- Cam , where are you?

Ketchup is on the left, picture helps. Although we bought salsa in a package like this, it was just spicy ketchup. Middle is a mayonnaise, tastes just like Ranch. We found it quite by accident. The last is a mayonnaise that is cheese flavored that is delicious. Now none of this is low fat- hard to believe there are so many thin people here.

Our flour on the left, luckily there are small Romanian labels on the back. Hard to find any bag bigger than 2 kilos. Sugar on the right, almost all packages are 1 kilo, cost of 60 cents a kilo. By the way, brown sugar is also granular, not at all like home and expensive and hard to find.

Upper left is coconut, at least in Romanian. It is a much finer grind than Canadian, and that package is as big as it gets. Bottom left, cinnamon, again in Romanian, always in a plastic bag. Lower middle is our mushroom soup or as close as it gets. In a bag and quite different than home. No soup in cans here. Bottom right is the cream of chicken, again a powder. It is okay, but hard to find. We have stocked up in Romania. 
 Anyway, that is the story for now. I did find a big rip-off, my suit pants when trying to get over a small fence in the cemetery when doing pictures for Billiongraves yesterday. The entire front leg is gone, just before the service. So we are down one suit. Thankfully it was the old one, both me and the suit.

Sunday, 10 April 2016


So for those who read, I was tired. For every spot you see Budapest, insert Bucharest. Oh, the errors of my ways. We have not yet been to Hungary, if I had typed in Romanian, it would have been Bucureste, with a sedilla under the S. Sorry, readers, I blame fatigue and stupidity. And a 7.5 hour drive.


April 10, 2016  We just got in from Bucharest, having driven there on Friday and coming back today. Our trip there took 9.5 hours- traffic was terrible on an unfamiliar road, and coming back we took 7.5 hours, even though it rained for 6 of those hours. We learned something valuable, Moldovans are not the worst drivers in the world- Romanians can run them good competition. Wow. We saw 3 accidents on our way there, one very serious, and had numerous hair raising events. Yes, I am now growing fuzz on top. Bucharest is a crazy, busy, beautiful city. We went down for a YSA event, kind of a missionary prep course. We were not certain what our role would be, but we ended up giving a presentation, doing lots of dishes and cleaning, and helping to obtain and set out food. They are like YSA everywhere- there is never enough food. For some reason here, they all love bananas- unbelievable appetite for them. Marin Iachimov organized the event and we were able to watch some of the teaching and activities. We had 2 youth from here go to Bucharest and we were able to drive them home. It was amazing to see the difference between Moldova and Romania- Romania is beginning to thrive, roads are better, building look better, prices are higher. They have a growth of over 4% a year, not bad at all. Parts of Bucharest are fantastic, but there are almost 3 million  people, 5th biggest city in Europe. Yes, we are not city people. Brother Iachimov says traffic here is controlled chaos and one needs to feel the traffic. I was very afraid of feeling the traffic, we were that close at times. Ah, we are alive. We met new people there as well, wonderful Saints. Many of them knew my cousin, Dan Heninger and his wife Deb, who are still fondly remembered. We met the branch president , Pres. Doru and his family, Carmen Fotea and her family, I think Claudia Fotea, her handicapped son Daniel and many other nice people. Radu Simon, Catalina Vitel and many others. Catalina was a workhorse, kept the food organized and was every where behind the scenes. The building there is fantastic, with 3 working levels. A long tiring drive, but we were happy to go and meet people there. Pictures follow.
The Panduri Branch building. Constructed in 2006, a different design that we are used to. See all that green grass, I was just coveting a lawn mower to get on it with. First nice lawn we have seen here.

Just a street in Bucharest. Hundreds of the block type buildings.

The Marriott, just around the corner from the Church. I would love to tell you we stayed here, but not so. Expensive rooms here, from 200 euros a night. So we stayed 2 blocks down at the Ibis, maybe a 3 star place.

Basement of the Church, Alin in the foreground with youth all over the place.

Elder and Sister Majeran from Rocky Mountain House, originally from Moose Jaw. Now the only office couple and completely unflappable. Nice to talk to fellow Canucks. 

Sister Ivory on the left, President Ivory on the Right. They did a face to face with the YSA, very well done.

Marin Iachimov on the left, Tibi ( Tiberius ) on the right. He is a tremendous young man. On crutches, but always with a smile and a heart of gold. He does translating for the Church.

Parliament Palace, second largest building complex in Europe. We did not even get close to it.

Outside our window in the Ibis. This is very early, as you can see road , usually traffic is bumper to bumper.
So we were glad to see Bucharest, but glad to get back to a slightly smaller place of 3/4 million. Imagine that, getting back to a small city and feeling comfortable. Where oh where has my little town gone?