Sunday, 28 August 2016

Protests and Ziua de Independenție

August 28 2016, Had a 2 week break with no posts, just did not have any pictures from the previous week, mainly because camera was forgotten on a couple of occasions. It continues to be hot and no rain. The country is very dry and could really use some rain, but apparently this is a normal, hot summer for the country. People get a little more grouchy in the heat. We watched a man this week in the bank, where we pay our utilities, try to get ahead of others waiting. He got severely yelled at and almost saw a fight. People driving are less patient, although that is a tough difference to see. Did see a dead motorcyclist this week, they are absolutely insane and it is no surprise.  We got yelled at for parking on the sidewalk, apparently there is a law, who knew? The person asked us to wait for the police to come give us a ticket, we politely declined. We had a frisbee dodgeball night last week for FHE. It was great fun, at a public park and many joined in. Reason I mention it, besides a great missionary finding tool, is the food. We bought fruit, 3 kg of grapes, 2 kg of plums- delicious, and 2 kg of nectarines. So 7 kg of fresh fruit, all for under $4. Nuts, eh? The Cooleys bought a watermelon at 15 cents a kg. So we are very spoiled with fresh, delicious fruit, different kinds each week. Winter will be tough. This week we had a treasure hunt all over the streets and in a park, had about 25 take part. We showed a video on Luke 12 prior to the hunt, look it up. While we were setting it up, we found ourselves in the middle of a Socialist party demonstration, pro-Russian. Rather interesting and we were in no danger. Then Saturday was the Moldovan Independence day, with hundreds of riot police to keep the 2 sides apart. It , the celebration, was very interesting, but so were the protesters and police in riot gear. My, we are just protected at home in Canada. I have begun teaching prenatal and medical classes, rather interesting and a small turn out in the summer. We will continue it. This week was rather quiet, but the next will not be quiet at all. Then in 9 days we get a special visit, it will be posted when it occurs. Let us just say we will hear some celestial language. We continue to wonder at the difficulties people here face, financial, family, etc. We count our blessings each day and ask our family to do the same. We have no idea how blessed we are to live in a country of mostly honest politicians, safety, and prosperity. We have been incredibly blessed.
The start of the demonstration. The major streets were closed off  and this was a pro Russian protest

Police were all along the route, this banner talks of 72 years, that were not bad. Memories change over time.

Flags were Moldovan, red and then the party flags. They were shouting, all in Russian. No Romania words were used.

It was peaceful, but no one looked happy to be there. Apparently many of these are paid for by outside sources, guess who?

This is an orphanage, for handicapped children. Orphanages here have a different meaning as many kids go home for the weekend. These pictures are very Moldovan, drawn by a very nice American guy.

His name was Philip Martin, he got high school students to paint after he drew.

Lots of things on sale on August 27, Independence day. This was a stall for Moldovan shirts.

2 ladies with home made blankets.

The stage in the back had many native dancers and performers. See the police to keep the peace. They have riot gear on.

The next few pictures are all people in costume, waiting to perform. Beautiful costumes.

This group was just stunning , beautiful girls and costumes.

Smiles are often rare here, but we got a few.

The street was lined with 3 flags, Moldovan crest, Moldovan flag and the European union flag. That was the one the pro Russian group was very opposed to .
So we finally saw and were in a demonstration, which we were told to avoid. It was an accident, but a seriously interesting one and an interesting week. This week has another holiday, August 31, the language freedom day where Romanian or Moldovan was declared the language. We expect more protests.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Hungary YSA-3

August 14, I promise this is the last of the installments of our YSA conference. The pictures here are mainly scenic. The last day was a devotional of an Iranian couple, arrested in Hungary and wanted by Iran, because they joined our Church. Quite the story- deportation would have resulted in death. He was in jail for 50 days waiting for a hearing. We had  a long hike day and a testimony meeting that was unbelievable. These youth are so impressive to us, their strength is a testimony builder in itself. Our trip home, not so inspiring, the bus company detoured us way north of Budapest to pick up stranded travellers. We did not know about the detour, so after 4 hours we were only in Budapest. We began at 330 am. By late afternoon we were delayed over an hour by an accident, so we had a bus to catch in Bucharest at midnight, we arrived at 130 am- 22 hours on the bus. We were blessed in that the maxi-taxi waited for us- we had 13 of 16 tickets. So  then the driver felt he should make up for lost time- can we say bat out of --ll. Rough and rolling, but we did make it back in 7.5 hours. It was a long bus ride, but safe. That trip was longer in time than from Salt Lake to here. Anyway, trials bring blessing, we were truly blessed to be able to go to Hungary. Wonderful people, wonderful experiences.
Couple picture, from L- Morgans-Czech, a Polish couple, Howells-Hungary, Oldhams-Hungary, Bowens-Poland, Petersons- Hungary and organizers, Swensons-Germany, Winders-Romania, Us, Johnsons-Bosnia

Moldovans on the lookout point

Deb is wearing a Moldovan blouse

Nina and Mariana with the flag

Nicolae, who came out of a shell. We watched him try to flirt with a beautiful Slovakian, with no common language- seriously funny

Radu, from Ploești, Romania. We became very good friends. He has a heart of gold.

The river in the background is the Danube, a very big river and beautiful

Orhei girls  as a monument 

We took a hike, boy , did it feel good to wear camo!
So we had a great spiritual time in Hungary, only good memories- the trip will fade with time.

Hungary YSA-2

August 14 continued.  On Day 2 we had a service project at multiple places. Our group went to a school where we were divided into groups of 10 or so with 2 supervisors. We were to paint a large room, with people who had never painted. We had mostly Romanians, Czechs and Poles. They were all eager to learn, using paint we had to dilute, with rollers and a tray that hung in the buckets. It was interesting. But we had tapers, edgers, rollers and painters, all worked together and we had a good time. That evening there was a talent show, only one pic from that, and the next day a country by country presentation. Deb and I did Moldova, and commented that it was ironic, having Canadians presenting Moldova. It was all interesting. Lots of great talent in all.
I am with Elina and Irina from Romania, starting our painting. We had the helping hand vests, all in Polish

I rather got tangled up in the silly vest

Sevghi in her room, much more of a challenge, no masking tape

Nina, not showing off for the camera, maybe the first time ever

As previously stated

I thought my couple on the ladder were rather chummy and hugging a little more than necessary. Found out they are getting married in 2 weeks, I guess it was a good excuse. Not a lot of painting occurred up high.

Talent show, a Hungarian bird dance

Conference room prior to country presentations

Fellow front and center is Bosnian

the Polish group, rather neat shirt-flag. Girl on right, Kaja, said I was like a grandpa. Very sweet young lady, member of 2-3 months.

The Poles put up Polish tongue twisters and had people in the audience try to say them, Try the next two, English is on the bottom.

Actually real words
It was all a lot of fun, we met so many interesting people.

Hungary YSA -1

August 14. Okay, family and friends, I warned there would be lots of pictures coming up. We had a great week in Dobogoko, Hungary, a beautiful village in the hills north of Budapest. The conference was attended by youth from Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, a couple from Cyprus and a small smattering from Great Britain and the USA. There were 9 senior couples present as well from all of these countries. Each day there was a morning devotional, then breakfast, then Institute classes for 2 hours, then lunch, then a 1 hour workshop, then an activity which I will describe. Evening has some meeting  or spiritual component. We had a fireside from Pres. Southwick, stake president in Budapest, a fireside with Elder Axel Leimer, area authority from Germany, a fireside from Henry Kosak, Institute director in Eastern Europe, [past in Russia for 7 years and a mission president in Germany]. We had talent shows, dances for the YSA, a wonderful testimony meeting and other activities. So many wonderful people to meet and talk to , and we certainly got close to all the Romanians and Moldovans. So this blog will be spread over 3 posts , to get all the pictures in. I will speak of our travel home at the end, which was not pleasant. But the conference was wonderful. To speak and hear so many people bear testimony of Jesus Christ from so many countries was inspiring and faith promoting to both Deb and I.
Another picture of the first night gathering , pre activity

Deb and I supervised an activity in the forest. 2 people were blindfolded , each had a guide and had to be led, no touching, to a meeting place where stones were exchanged, then led back to the start. Here is Diana Gogu leading Sevghi Savran

Katalina, in the middle, leading Nikki Thompson

Group from Czech republic, waiting

Funniest team, did not work together well

Deb giving instructions

Maria Gorea, showing off

Maria, leading Nicolae Pascari, from Bălți

Most of our group , post activity, Deb, Maria, Nikki, Diana, Sevghi, Nicolae and me

The motto and theme of the conference. This is from a quote, well known to missionaries, where no unhallowed hand can stop the work of God.
As you can see, the setting was beautiful and the young people were great.

Monday, 8 August 2016

YSA the beginning

August 8 2016 We are in Dobogoko Hungary tonight after a long bus ride. We began on Saturday night at 8 pm in Chisinau, driving overnight to Bucharest and arriving at 5 am. We walked to the Church in the dark, finding there that our phone did not work with roaming. So after a borrowed phone, we got in the Church building at 630 am, and stayed there until 7 pm, going to Church meetings in the meantime. At 715 pm, we got on a bus with 15 youth, driving to Dobogoko, with stops in Ploesti and Klug, arriving here at 1015 am, a 15 hour drive. Not exactly restful, but we are here and safe. Hungary looks a lot like parts of Canada, nice big farms, lots of sunflowers and corn and even a species of small deer- wow, was it nice to see something wild except dogs. It is a beautiful country with a very odd language. I got to see some of their currency after realizing we had no food until evening, and everyone needed to eat. There are about 150 YSA here from 9 eastern European countries, so it is nice to see so many young people. Lots of languages, so everything is done in English as it is the most common language used by all. We will be here until Friday am, then the bus rides begins again. It is a gorgeous place, up in the hills north of Budapest, at a hotel called the Walden hotel. We have completely filled the place and we are actually in a small place a couple of blocks away. There were some positives this week, 3 baptisms  in Moldova this week, a good lesson in Balti, and safety. But there were lots of cancelled lessons , ticket problems, cancelled dinners and lot of other issues. but we expect a good week and it is nice to be a beautiful place. Not many pics today, lots more later.
The building where we will sleep

Hungarian is an odd language, written and spoken

The Walden Hotel, a beautiful place

First night together
We expect a good time and maybe even a rest. So far, the food is very good.