Sunday, 26 June 2016


June 26 2016 So what does caniculă mean? Extreme heat, I needed to learn that work this week as it has been hot, like 38-39 deg C with 80-90 % humidity. Sister Vogelsberg says it feels like North Carolina in the summer, so it is not a nice time. People are dragging their butts around and shedding clothes like crazy. Thankfully not totally, although the lady in the leopard skin type underwear at the bus stop was close, as was the one in the mall only in a bra and pants. Odd, but very European.  We have been thankful for our air conditioning, even though it does about half of the place. It is liveable. some of the missionaries take a cold shower at bedtime, then go to bed in wet underwear to stay cool. It probably is not too healthy. Today it is only 34 and seems balmy. I tried a cemetery stint yesterday while Deb was visiting a sister yesterday, lasted an hour and was drenched in sweat. Everyone is getting used to the heat, I am reminded of Croatia and Bethany, as people here are convinced that anything cold you drink or eat in the heat will make you sick as will air conditioning. Today in church, I hid the air conditioning controls so no one could turn it off. That happened last week. Not quite as many pics, we had an FHE of Minute to win it. It was very funny There also was a baptism on Saturday, 2 Russian brothers, I will try to show them later. Deb turns __ today, showing the true number may result in my untimely death. All of the following pictures are in the courtyard of the Church.
This was a game where a roll of toilet paper is snapped thru a hula hoop. The elders are Brown on the left, Jerome on the right. One would think a Raymond boy would win this, but the Texan won easily, hey, they take their football seriously in Texas. The winner had the most in one minute, Brown got 16, Jerome 11.

Artyom is the snapper, the rolls of paper were tough, we saved them for another game, a little rough for personal use. That sawdust does smooth things out though.

Kiril Josan, trying to balance dice on a tongue depressor. He is the favorite, always comes with his sister. The YSA treat him like gold. From the left, Elder Findlay, Kiril the older, Vitally, Elder Morgan, Carla Berrara ( ex missionary and U of U business intern), and Diana Raetghi

Vitally and Adriana, moving M and M's with a straw to another straw. Can you see who won?

Deodor and Elder Paterson on the same game.

One has to blow all the cards off except the bottom one, quite a challenge. C on the left, Nick on the Right

No, there was nothing awesome in the sky. This game was to move a cookie, an Oreo, from your forehead to your mouth, using only facial muscles.

With an Oreo as motivation, most accomplished the goal.

Eugen (Evgeni) and Artyom, just before the baptism. Eugen is a quiet humble young man who just has a heart of gold. At the baptism, he talked half in Romanian, half in Russian, and was prepared in English. He said he had hope again in his life.

From left, Artyom, Eugen, Boris and Yuri. Artyom baptized Eugen, Boris baptized Yuri, and Elder Findlay is lurking in the background. It was a Russian service. All are new converts. Special moment for me, as I was talking to Yuri, and his English is limited, he put his arms around me and said, My brother. I was touched.
It was a touching baptism, wonderful people. We had a lot of food, Eugen requested Brownies and he got the first one.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

YSA activity photos 2

June 19, Mostly this is a post of pictures, there were just too many for the last one. These are all from the YSA activity of June 18.
These 2 pictures are people transcribing records from Billion Graves. They were very dedicated. The young man on the far left, Evgheni, is a very nice young guy, getting baptized soon. He saw Sister Edwards walking alone and walked with her to our learning center, just so she had some company. 

Transcribing, a little fuzzy. From left, Olga, Sasha, Dasha, Sevghi, and Boris, except for Sevghi, all from Bălți.

Bowling alley, Rock and Roll bowling. You rent each lane by the hour, shoes and all are then provided for up to 6 people

The next 4, just action shots bowling

The young guy in the back, Victor, just came to the Church for English and stayed until we were done at night. 

Cooking over charcoal. Deodor, in blue beside me, wanted to be the Bucată or cook. He is an investigator. Hey , the blue jeans and no tie were because of cooking, also my bald head needed protection from the sun.

Sister Draper and Mits, on R. Sister Mits is from Melbourne, wonderful sister, especially the accent.

Our group at supper, the smiles seemed to tell it all.

Supper was  good mix of members, nonmembers and missionaries, it was a great way to finish a busy day.

YSA activity

June 19 It is Sunday, a day of rest and my, could we use some. Yesterday was a busy day, which I will describe later. Last night was thunder storm after thunder storm, at least 3 different ones that I awoke from. It was quite the light show, after a day of 35 degree hot, humid weather. So here was the week, in a nutshell. Monday was the day Deb found some clothing stores that worked for her, well, they worked after she banished her dear husband from the stores. Imagine that. We did get to teach Institute that night, a Russian/English class. Tuesday, we skyped with the Europe YSA directors, the Swensons , in Frankfurt, then had a senior conference call, then helped with a CV for a young man, then fed some members dinner, then fed the sisters and an investigator dinner, a busy day. Wednesday we went to Bălți, taught institute there and had a great time. I had a new elder , Elder Brodskyy, translate for me and he was great. The country side was beautiful, lots of cherries sold on the roadside. Thursday we did Pathways, helped with a CV again, taught Institute and had a long day. Friday was district meetings, and then FHE, we had some roundtable scripture study. I had to explain a few scriptures, some in English, some in Russian with translation and once solely in Romanian. Ouch.  Then we had games, mild table games and had about 24 kids out. It was a great turnout. Now to Saturday. We began at the Church at 11 am, and had invited Bălți and Orhei, had 5 from Bălți and 4 from Orhei come. We had spiritual thoughts at 11, Pres. Covali and Alina Dobos, then lunch of tacos with different fillings ( fed about 30) then Billion Graves with some taking pictures at a cemetery and some transcribing records, then all  went 10 pin bowling at Malldova, (28 here of YSA) and then back to the Church. The elders, mainly Lundquist, played games while we barbequed supper and prepared salads. We had BBQ pork, potato salad, pasta salad, green and fruit salad, then ice cream, banana bread, cake, and raspberry loaf. We fed 40 here. Lets just say not much food  was left over. Then Elder Findlay did a video on the Kiev temple and then we all wandered home about 730 pm. The day was up to 35 and humid, and we were tired. 4 girls slept over, including Alina. We had a full, busy day, but we considered it a success. All the youth sure seemed to have a good time, I think we have established a precedent, which is fine. We had up to 12 non members at one time, one young man came for English class and stayed with us the entire day. So there are a lot of pictures, mainly for us, they will be spread over 2 posts.
These next 5 pictures are all from the Taco lunch, We had spicy burger and then a chicken/bean/corn dish with all the toppings. It was well loved

From left, those looking at camera, Corina , Sevghi, Boris, and Sasha ( Alexandra). The last 2 are from Bălți.

On the far right, is Carla Berrara, she was a missionary here, but now is doing a business internship for the U of Utah.

Vitalli, in black is a new member, and a wonderful young man

The next few are from the Armenian cemetery, it was 35 deg. and humid. We had sections divided off with ribbons and then the YSA were paired off.

Sorry, we have a double here

Diana Gogu, was just terrified of the cemetery and worried about nightmares. So I told her about the lizards, just to change her worries. Funny, she did not thank me.

Nicu Gorea, my champ, 174 photos

Mariana and Corina, they loved to scream at animals seen in the cemetery

Most of our group, we lost some to resting from the heat. Svetlana, in black on the R, is not YSa, but asked if she could come. She is a very pleasant lady from Bălți who wanted to learn about Billion graves, she comes regularly to our institute class. We are becoming very good friends with her. Oh, yeah, very fluent in all 3 languages, a university professor.

So there are more pics on the next page. Sorry, little scenery today, all people.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


June 12 2016 Well, we had a busy week, we began our week by taking some sisters out to a village to see the country on Pday. It was a beautiful day and they saw a few things they had not seen previously. We worked hard and got all the English lessons finished and did some training with the missionaries here on how to use them. They are all on Powerpoint and include objectives, spiritual thoughts, teaching , conversations and homework. We hope it will work well and can be used for some time to come. We found out this week that there had been flooding in Chișinău last week, and saw some of the damage this week. There are blessings to living on a hill. So Friday there were 3 baptisms in the Russian branch, and then Saturday we had another one in the Romanian branch. Our missionaries are working hard,  after this transfer, we are down one companionship for at least one transfer. Deb was mending and adjusting baptismal pants, I conducted another baptismal service and then conducted fast and testimony meeting, and talked in that meeting of course. I thought I would be trying a lesson in Romanian, but as we got into the class, there was 6 people speaking only English, and one only who could speak no English. So we quickly modified and had an English lesson with translation. Handouts were all in Romanian, so it all worked out fine. We have fed the people this week. Friday we fed a lot of people after the first baptisms ( with the Cooleys), fed as many, if not more on Saturday after that baptism and then fed the branch after Church meetings today in a Linger longer setting. Large amounts of food, today everyone chipped in and there were a few leftovers, a rarity here. So we haul food from place to place, and continue to be on very good terms with the food cashiers at the grocery store. It is truly special to see the baptisms and be a part of Church growth. Highlight otherwise may be that we found a Mexican restaurant here, and it was very good. So a place was found for Debs birthday. El Paso was the place and we will return.
We don't know what to call these vehicles, but they are everywhere in the country. They have a rototiller front end attached to a cart and they use them to pull people and a wagon. Not fast, but a functional tool. The tillers are then used in the garden plots

A pretty little village with lots of Romanian  letters. Many villages end in the letter I, mostly silent , except to Romanian speakers. 

I turned 180 degrees from the other picture, a nice little  river valley. The river is called Râu Răut, which is very hard to say.

Did not see the colt until after the picture was taken.

Nice stork picture, da?

The roses are out everywhere, all over the city . They are simply beautiful, and my mother would have loved to see all of them. Many colors, and all along roadsides.

The 3 Russian brothers, from left, Vitali, Boris, Yuri. Vitali comes to our FHE and YSA activities and is only 17. All these men are incredible, Yuri is Vitali's father. After his baptism, Yuri spoke for at least 10 minutes.

Food at Saturdays baptism. It is not shabby cuisine. M &M cookies, strawberry cheesecake loaf, that was some of our treats.

In the center is Marina Vinogradova. She was baptized last Saturday, if ever one saw a countenance change , it was on this young lady. She simply beams the Gospel. On her left is Maria or Mariana Gorea, from Orhei. She is one of our favorites, we travel to teach her every 2nd tuesday.

So we have had another good week, still challenges of course, but oh, so many blessings and spiritual uplifts. We love working with the YSA and look forward to this coming week- we gather all of the YSA in Moldova for an all day activity. We have a busy week of preparation. That includes a number sleeping over at our apartment.

Sunday, 5 June 2016


June 5 2016 An interesting week, we taught some lessons, traveled to Bălți for a lesson, had a baptism, went to a graduation, and provided lots of food for a lot of people. There has been a ton of rain here, like much of Europe, and there was some flooding in the low parts. We are in the highest part of the city, and don't worry much about floods. Monday we went to a high school grad, our member, Sevghi, who has a mission call to Ukraine, graduated. It was all out in the courtyard, began at 845 am and graduands were not called up individually. Very different from what we are used to in North America. The rains began that day and continued most of the week, rivers in the streets and buses often not running. Traffic was horrific. What we could normally drive in 10 minutes took over an hour this week. We had a good lesson in Bălți, had a good institute class here, great FHE, we had blindfolded drawing contests, and a baptism on Saturday. This week our internet was abruptly cut off, our submitted bill was not paid, so we got to fix that. On Saturday we had a feeling to go to the Church and found out there was no hot water as the gas had been cut off. The company forgot to send a bill, and when not paid, they cut off the gas, no warning. So as for the baptism, for more than 5 hours, we heated water in pots on a stove- second floor- and took the water out to the font. Meanwhile Deb and the sisters sat by the font with electric kettles warming water. We had a baptism in tolerable water; always interesting here. The markets are full of fresh fruit, strawberries galore, cherries, apricots starting and now fresh peas. We bought and shelled some, mmm good. One sister missionary did not know how peas were obtained, that shelling was required. Today we had a Europe wide broadcast, with Bishop Causse and Elder Cristofferson speaking, it was wonderful. We also had a great discussion with the elders today, in the midst of transfers. So all is good, the pics are all over the map today. We still are working on English classes and hope to be done that in a week or so.
Our last picture of Elder Allphin, who goes home this week. He has been in Moldova for 6 months and it is hard to describe how good a missionary he is. Great with language, encouraging, always working hard , obeying, and just a pleasure to be around. It would not surprise us to see him in Church leadership one day soon. He made all his companions better missionaries.

Sevghi's grad, with Sister Nicol and Brinkman. 2 things to notice here. On the right, note the short skirt, that is the norm here, hard for young girls and ladies to find modest clothes. On the left, note the red hair. They love red hair here, and the older one is, the brighter the hair must be.

Large statue coming into Bălți, do not know who she is , but a very impressive statue.

When I saw this license plate, it just so described drivers here. Our other favorite, CRY, how we often feel when driving.

Next 2 are from the cemetery, the place is loaded with lizards. Normally you will just see the plants move, but these were out sunning. Pretty little guys, yes?

Almost all the trucks in the city public works dept. are of this vintage, like WW2 age. They spew smoke, go very slow, but must be durable. They are no things of beauty.