Sunday, 31 July 2016


July 31 2016. The title of this post is for my daughter Mette, who just loves birds in all their flavors and sizes, just for you. It will be evident from the pictures. As I write this post, it is 40 degrees out and with the humidity, just lovely to be outside-not. Our little air conditioner is working hard today, to keep part of the apartment tolerable. We were in the piața a couple of days ago and the people were all under tarps, but it felt as pleasant as a canvas tent in the heat. Imagine. We were buying fruit for putting on ice cream, strawberries are back, blackberries are on and the peaches are now from 6-9 lei a kilo or about 15-30 cents a pound. And they are delicious, I might add. But the country is drying quickly in the heat. We had a dog this week take a dislike to us and give chase, just for fun. Irritable just like the people in big black German cars. Heat does that to things and people. Our first group of youth is on their way to Hungary. On Friday I was trying to get tickets with one of our youth, what was supposedly a 30 minute job took 2.5 hours, trying to find one place with no number, and a high steel fence. It was a bus yard and I have seen prisons with less fence and defence perimeters. The road in would have been a challenge for my 4x4. My Opel was crying in pain. Ah, the patience testers. Lots of teaching this week again, and a wonderful baptism, I will have pictures. It is summer and many youth are away, still had 35 for our FHE. It was a good day for ice cream and fruit toppings.
 A final picture of Elder Sparhawk, who goes home in a week. He is finishing his mission in Bălți, we have grown very fond of him.

Elder Paterson and Adrian Tudos, a new member and a wonderful man.

Lots of fruit in the piața, see all the corn and peaches. The corn looks good, but is not sweet. The peaches are.

Between the potatoes and peaches are the Moldovan peppers. There are literally tons of these.

The pavement in the piața is watered down so people can walk on it, it gets very hot.

We took a drive in a village on the way to Bălți the other day, just for pictures. A flock of geese taking over the road.

Billy and his chain, escaping the heat.

Missed the head of the horse, but caught the farmers expression

Turkeys in a yard, all that hay was cut and piled by hand. Scythe and rake.

There were geese everywhere in the village, occasionally they even had herders. Great job, herding geese.

Turkeys also were everywhere. Maybe we will have Christmas turkey

Fancy church in a poor village
So we survive the heat, and will prepare for a trip next week, a bus ride over 2 days. We hope there is air conditioning.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Pioneer day

July 24. It is Pioneer day in the Church, and for some reason, it is not celebrated in the Republic of Moldova. Imagine. This is a day where we celebrate the coming of the members of the Church into the Salt Lake Valley. A few communities in Alberta, like Barnwell and Magrath, celebrate this in their communities. Well, this year we celebrated it in our Family home evening. We had a power point on pioneers, and then had a number of activities- arm wrestling, leg wrestling, bean bag throwing, skipping with a rope, cow chip throwing - made from cardboard [the real ones just would not hold together] , 3 legged races, stick pulling, etc. We had a good crowd and lots of activity. Then we had cornbread, honey butter and watermelon. Moldova and Romania have a dish called Mamaliga, which is a cornmeal dish, like  a mush, eaten with sour cream and cheese. They think it delightful, I think it not. Well, we showed them how to prepare mamaliga so it is edible- in my humble opinion. Anyway, it was fun and we taught about pioneers- a good day! We went to an English summer camp for 7-10 year olds this week and taught about Canada, even playing floor hockey. It was successful enough that we do it again this week in another location. Even fed them snickerdoodles. So this week we were off the the piața to get some supplies for pioneer day. Plan
Don't ask how I got pictures in the middle, I am not sure, Sisters in a sunflower field

A pose, Sisters Brinkman, Nicol, Mits, Schow.

Sunflowers are gorgeous. Those are walnuts on the trees to the R

Sign from the north coming in to the city

Tania and Adrian arm wrestling. After 3 minutes, it was a draw.

Elder Paterson and Gore

Action shot of leg wrestling. Elder Lundquist won.

They look like cow chips, don't they?

We had a target and all

LInger longer after Church. C on the L, gave her first talk today. The bread in the front, banana bread and strawberry cheesecake bread, yes , I made it. In the middle are placintes, Moldovan pastry with potatoes, or cheese, or cabbage. Very good.

was to take the bus, get what we need and then walk back. As we get to the bus, I feel an unpleasant sensation hit the back of my head and shirt. Deb looks and yes, a pigeon had dropped in, or parts thereof. A large souvenir had been deposited on my shirt- neck and back. We got to make a literal change of plans. It may be needed- I tend to look up more now. Isn't that good for a missionary? We had transfers this week, and have 5 new missionaries here. Sister Schow, Elders Sanchez and Davis, Elders Cowser and Gore. All new here, Elder Davis green and new. He plays piano which was great today. Lots of teaching this week, much more in the next- lessons with missionaries and Institute. I had yet another lesson in preparation this week, actually today. Our branch president , President Ceban , has been gone for more than 2 weeks and was to conduct in Church. I had speakers and all, but left my conducting cheat sheets at home- I wont need them today, me thinks. Well, guess who never came to church and guess who had to scramble. I am just not that comfortable yet, but we managed. Summer here is like summer at home, lots of people gone. Our Hungary conferences begin next week and we are trying to get all done for those going, so that will make a busy week. The present Pathways session is also done now and we may get to help with an extra session in September. Main thing , alive another week with the car, I am very slow to develop a love for the people who drive large black German cars- who love to threaten us and try to run us off the road. Maybe one day.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Ahh, the heat!

July 18, 2016  So I am out of my routine of Sunday posts, yesterday was missionary transfer day and we had some driving around to do. We were at Gara de Sud, a bus station, then Gara, the train station. The trains looked brutally hot and uncomfortable and I was thankful to not be on one. Also interesting, the gauge of rail is different between here and Romania, so trains need to be switched at the border. Finally we were at the airport at 2230, and got home well past our bed time. What was new this week? We got honked at , yelled at, even threatened in driving, especially when we dared to stop to help a drunk crawling across the street, cars were driving around, no one helped, so when we stopped to do so , we got mightily honked at. I dont think the Good Samaritan had to deal with cars on the road from Jericho. We had a fun activity at FHE, a water balloon night and water activity. It worked well as the temperature was 35 degrees and all were hot. We ran out of water balloons. Okay, and the odd part. Yesterday we were involved in planning for an outdoor nativity for the city, yes, planning for Christmas when it was 37 degrees. Those of you who know Deb, would know how this pleased her, to talk of Christmas in July. This week we tried zucchini cake and bread, the zucchini here is a light green and slightly different, but very cheap and works very well in baking. It was peach week at the piata, and also nectarines, fruit is very seasonal here. There are now lots of watermelons everywhere, those who know me will know just how pleasing that is (not!). Well, everyone else loves it, so I make do. The produce is wonderful here, and it is a good time to shop. Piatas are wonderful, I needed some C clamps to repair something at the Church, no problem at a piata, just wander around and find what you need. Deb got a great cut glass vase for flowers, heavy and beautiful, for about $6. Amazing. We had sunflowers on our table for the week.
The garbage cans on our boulevard after a weekend. Way too small and beer is way too cheap. It is rather a mess.

Our boulevard, full of people at night, and a beautiful place to walk, about 2 kilometers long

Kiril, 2nd from left, with Elder Findlay, Vitally and Elder Morgan

Our fellow Canadian , Elder Jerome, transferred yesterday. He was not able to get a Moldovan visa. We will miss him, a great elder.

One of the water activities, pouring water backwards, got a little wet

Water balloon volleyball, using towels and balloons.

They go rather high, up to 10-15 meters

Note the smaller boys in the back. One is a neighbor kid, comes over for fun and food every Friday.

People tried to catch them, not usually successfully, but it was hot.

What can we say about Nina?

Iulia, 2nd from L, and Elder Lundquist, Sister Brinkman and Nicol.
Another week by, still safe, I have been concerned about my hearing. It may be a blessing, it is hard to hear people honk at you with hearing loss.

Sunday, 10 July 2016


July 10 There are not as many pictures today, but they are of the sunflowers which are now for sale in the flower shops. One needs a rather big vase. It is a beautiful countryside  and is becoming more yellow. Winter wheat is almost done, vegetables are everywhere, peaches and apricots are endemic. There are flowering trees we have never seen before, some with some large orange flowers. It was not a dramatic week, we plugged away at the things we need to do. We had some revision of English lessons, we watched a few  and did some work. But the driving, oh the driving. We figure it is a good day when we have one near-miss. Tuesday we had 4 near misses, the worst on a highway when a car swerved in front of us at 100+ km/hr, missing us by inches or less. It was a bad day or a good day where we said thanks to God for protection, very serious protection. It is an unusual day to not see an accident, and people after a near miss, will chase another car, pull in front of them to make them stop and then have a nasty confrontation. Yelling at each other seems to be a way of life. We have yet to try that option and probably will forego it. We did have a zone conference on Saturday, very good, Deb and I made potato salad, taco salad and pasta salad. Huge amounts and it was needed. Cooking seems to be a way of life here. Anyway we are alive and well, it is rather fun to cook and not eat much if any of the food. More difficult to get fat. Oh, the brother in Church giving the lesson today was  rather distracted, talking of adversity in life. He told the men at least they were not fat and old. I said I beg your pardon. So he said, Sorry, but at least I did not mention that you are bald as well. Filled me with confidence and gratitude. Ah, patience.
This was our storm last Sunday, taken from our car, hence the poor quality. It was a little wet.

Near here we hit a man hole opening. I could not drive and take a picture of the river or torrent down the hill near by.

Typical swing in the blocks

The sunflowers are tall and are everywhere. Most here are used for oil, only a few for seeds to eat.

Rather beautiful country side, eat your heart out, Denise. 

Not quite a selfie, but shows the height of the flowers.
So it was not a scintillating week, just steady. We are getting the final touches on our youth conferences in August and will continue that this week.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Canada Day

July 3 2016. We are 2 days post Canada Day here, not that we saw any celebrations except ours, more on that later. It was a big surprise to us that no one had a Canada flag out, but we overcame our surprise. We had a special FHE night on Friday. Everyone who came received a Canada flag pin, Deb decorated the Church in Canada  colors, we played some Canada games,  ate Canadian food ( which is actually a weekly tradition for these youth) and we made a impressive power point on Canada, including pictures of Raymond, Bow Island and the Cardston temple. Hey, Pinto McBean now has new fans in Moldova. One of the games was seeing how many sticks one could balance on the back of ones hand, and then dropping and catching them. One got 5. Then we did a Bella Coola game, ring on a string and most importantly, floor hockey with rolled up newspapers. People are very competitive here. Oh the slide show, one picture was of hockey , Canada  beating USA in the Olympics. Just had to be done. It is still very hot with the occasional cloud burst. Today we drove thru about 12-18 inches of water for about a kilometer, in a low spot, rather exciting. Thankfully, unlike many other cars, we did not stall. Lots of heat though and oh so humid! Crops in the farmland are really growing, especially the sunflowers of which there are literally hundreds of fields. We had our closest miss this week in a car, inches from a head on collision, a crazed Mercedes driver. Other than near death, not too bad, helped one couple move to a new place, helped with some lessons, and taught several classes. So what do you eat on Canada Day? Well, in Moldova, you eat beaver tails, or fritters or scones. We made a big bunch, from scratch, and thought we had way too many. We also bought a big watermelon and cut it up. Well, we had over 35 to FHE and the beavertails, some with sugar, some with jam or nutello, were gone in minutes. They looked tasty, not that we had any. I guess it is a sign of success that we have such a growing group, but these old people are really searching for ideas.  The food, they will just devour anything homemade here. We had 4 YSA for dinner today, and needless to say, there are few leftovers. I am not sure if I am a good cook or not, it really does not matter. The missionaries without air conditioning, they are just roasting each day. We learned today that the proper way to wash dishes is not to fill the sink with water, but to have the water running continually and keep the soap on the side. Oh, another highlight, Peggy Plumb from SLC, sent some baking supplies over. We got Cream of tartar, vanilla extract and coconut and taco seasoning. She is an angel, but she sent enough volume that we may have to stay 4-5 years to use it all up.
The sunflowers are starting to bloom, another week and the country side will be very yellow. They are harvesting winter wheat this week.

A shepherd on some public land. What we found out this week, when they get the sheep home, they get milked and the milk is made into cheese. Imagine milking a sheep and I used to complain as a boy about a cow.

Kind of interesting, the horse waiting for the farmers, and they are out hoeing corn. Many of the farm workers are quite old, like our age.

We see the odd baler here, but most hay is cut with a scythe, and thrown by hand on wagons like this. It was quite  a big load. They were on a main highway.

Ring on a string game, person in the middle gets 3 guesses as to where the ring is, and it is supposed to move frequently, not everyone got that concept.

 A couple of pics of floor hockey , Moldovan style. Elder Jerome from Raymond is center on both pics, he has that Raymond competitiveness with sports. By the way,parents and family, his language is great and he is a great missionary.

One of our walking paths in the forest, all these trees have been planted, oaks and maples.

Apricots are on, this tree is not far from our home, they are for sale everywhere. Cost, about 50-60 cents a kilo. You can find enough public trees to pick , if you wish.

This is an example of the very small individual stores out among the apartment blocks, very specialized, very plentiful, very Russian.

There are fruit and vegetable stands everywhere, often with very little protection from the sun. This operator stands behind her fruit. Peaches are also coming on.

Path between buildings, often old asphalt, usually crumbling. The white van on the left is a maxi taxi, on of the main ways to transport people. Oh, the buses are a little pungent in the heat.

School in the neighborhood, no parking lot, in fact you cannot drive up to the school, only paths are available. The sign say welcome, all student are gone for the summer.

The neighborhood, lots of highrises and blocks for a country boy and girl. This is part of one of our walking paths.

This is what you use to keep people from parking in your spot. They lock upright, and then fold down when you unlock them. These are everywhere.

Another small fruit shop, and the very small one is a cigarette shop. These are very hot, confined and usually busy. They are everywhere.
So we are in the heat of summer. We found out our air conditioner drips on the neighbors canopy and was keeping everyone awake below us, so now we have a bucket on the dumb thing until we figure out a solution. Galeată, a bucket is. When it rains heavy, it rains buckets here, not cats and dogs. Makes more sense. We tied a string on our bucket so it really does not rain buckets on a unsuspecting passerby.