Sunday, 8 May 2016

Easter for the Dead

May 8, 2016. Well, at home in Canada, it is Mother's day, but here in Moldova it is Easter for the Dead; Mothers Day and womens day are the same and occur on March 8. So us foreigners find this day rather odd, as people go to the cemeteries and take food, have a picnic near the gravesite, get some food blessed and then leave said food for the deceased. The cemeteries were packed; as we went to Church today, by what is called Circul, there were hundreds of people waiting for buses and many, many buses waiting to take them to the Lazar Cemetri, the one with about 250.000 graves on the NW part of the city. There is really nothing comparable  in North America that we do; many people just shudder at the thought of entering the grave site. They are very comfortable with the thought here. So an interesting day. We have skyped with about half the family, Maren in about an hour, and Brendan at 1 am our time. Now that will be a treat. 2 elders were here skyping and they enjoyed peace for about an hour. So what happened this week? We began Institute class in Bălți, it was a lot of fun and very successful. It takes us about 2 hours to drive there, we teach in English and the class responds in Russian, with one of the elders translating. It was very spiritual for us and we will be going every 2 weeks. We have also taught a few discussions this week with the sister missionaries- very nice and spiritual. FHE for the YSA this week was a photo scavenger hunt which we prepared with small pics of various places. They divided into groups of 6 , 4 groups and had a lot of fun. We spent one afternoon at our learning center, and learned Tuesday of the huge fire at home in Fort McMurray, wow, even here people are asking about it, truly world news. Very sad to see and watch news highlights of . We also had much business to attend to this week, lessons, English and learning Romanian, trying to assist in whatever way we could. We had tried to organize a trip to Kiev to the temple, we found out this week that it just would not work, too few were able to go, so that felt like a bit of a failure for a while. Amazing things on the streets, for 3-4 days it appeared like snow as one type of tree seed was everywhere. Today cotton from poplars was flying. We also had a meal with the Stepanencos, a wonderful spaghetti dish, Ruslan is some kind of cook. So an interesting week, with much more planned this week. Now not as many pictures, only a few.
This hot air balloon flew over our apartment this morning, only the second one we have seen here. A very pretty sight, advertising Moldovan grapes. The vines in the country are all growing like mad.

A famous Moldovan poet, Grigore Vieru, magnificent statue in the cemetery over his grave. This was one of the stops on our photo scavenger hunt. The young adults had to take selfies at every stop, 16 in all.

One of my favorite photos. Notice anything amiss? Watch that first step.

Okay this was our treat of the week. We were at the Church Saturday when this couple wandered up, asking when services were on Sunday, in perfect English. They are Serg and Audrey Luchianou, he was originally from Moldova, and moved to Canada about 15 years ago. She is a native Albertan. He joined the Church in Canada and they married. They live in Bonny Doon in Edmonton, and know Beth and Russell very well, in fact , have had dinner with them. What a small world. They had heard of a Canadian couple on Moldova, on a mission, who were somewhat afraid of the country- yes , that would be us. We had a very nice visit, fellow Canadians, far away from home. Wow, any more Canadians here and we may be translated. Sorry, non members, Mormon lingo. Serg was Russian speaking when here. 

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