Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mission Newsletter with President Uchtdorf

Sickness and shaking

Sept 25. Well the big news for us occurred at 0211 Saturday morning as we were woken by the building shaking. Deb thought I was dreaming, then asked what it was. With my vast experience of now one, I said , This is an earthquake. It lasted about 15 seconds with the bloc shaking nicely, but no damage was done. It was a 5.6 about 4 hours away in Romania, and was 88 km deep. No damage. But seriously, I was so upset, it took almost 3 minutes to get back to sleep. I figured, 8th floor, where can we go? So I slept. Deb, not so much. We have both had a gastroenteritis bug that really zapped us this week, me on Thursday, here from Friday on into today. We both have a closer relationship with our porcelain friends. It did slow us down a fair bit. We did get travel to Balti in, and taught a class on Tuesday night on deliveries. But it was uneventful and non-picturesque. We have now rain after a long dry spell, it was sorely needed. Our place has also served as a sleeping place, seems often a night or two a week. Our couch is very large. So no pics this week, we promise many next week, as we are back in Romania. As for now, this too shall pass.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Quiet week

Sept 18 2016 After all the excitement of the previous week, it was rather a quiet week for the Edwards here. We continue to have hot, dry weather. Elder Edwards had a bit of withdrawal as he heard of family going elk hunting, but he did survive and live to see another week. It was a bit of a medical week as a new babe and mom were visited and given advice and we had a rather sick elder here as well, actually did house calls. Whoa. But all is well at present. By the way, fellow Canadians, be thankful for your hospital and health care. Here, the mother needs to bring everything, diapers, pads, any needed medicine, even milk if she wishes to drink that. After delivery, the advice given is interesting at best, and that is all I will say about that. The large hospital where deliveries are done, has no signage of any kind, you get to guess how to get in. Parking, forget about it. Apples are now available in all shapes and sizes, about 7 lei or 35 cents a kilo. Plums, by the bucket at 6-8 lei a kg. There continues to be thousands of watermelons, now a smaller size. I have no idea how they are all consumed. A couple of Moldovans tried to get me to try a watermelon, imagine their frustration. Anyway, we made 3 huge pans of apple crisp for FHE, fun with a minimum of brown sugar. Sister Cooley donated some. Let us just say they love that North American treat- As usual, no leftovers. Really, our only flop was trying ice cream floats with pop, they told us again they thought we were trying to kill them. Saturday we anticipated going to a castle, the Castle Mimi, which was re-opening. Expensive for here, full airport like security, no food or drink allowed, etc. I have a couple of pics, but it was just a refurbished winery, and was nothing but a big promotion. We expected a concert, none was forthcoming while we were there. As I told the family, just what Moldova needs, some more alcohol. We had 2 men at our learning center this week, that were difficult to remove because of their inebriation. It was a good week for teaching, we began a new round of Institute, all on book of Mormon, in 3 locations, The leaders are trying to get local teachers which we are to train. Lots of wonderful people to work with. Oh a minor success. I needed to rent a van for the end of the month. The rental place that spoke English, had no vans. The place that had a van spoke mainly Russian, some Romanian. Somehow we managed and I did rent a van. I think. We will see what we have next week. If 6 of us are crowded in a Toyota Yaris, this may be the end of my blogging until I recover.
This is the Castle Mimi, just a glorified winery. We were only able to see about 25% of the building, barrels and big tubs. and lots of rock walls.

The bright spot, the ice cream was delicious, they have an ice cream called Fructe de Padure, or fruit of the forest. It is a heavenly berry ice cream. Almost worth the security search.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Brașov and balloons

September 11 2016
This is just a continuation of the previous blog, pictures from our conference in Brașov and also an activity from Friday night. I will comment on the pictures.
The Castle of Peleș, in Sinaia, a beautiful place, we have been here before, but nice to see again.

Hotel Belvedere in Predeal, a very European hotel

Missionaries getting ready to get on the buses

City center in Brașov, a gorgeous place

Deb and the Winders, a couple in București, wonderful people from Idaho

On one of the walking streets there. We ate at an Italian place, Il Prato, very nice. As you may guess, not all of us liked the pasta.

Winders again
FHE was balloon stomp. Each person was on a team, and had 2 balloons tied to their ankle, last balloon with air wins. Thankfully no bones were broken here.

We could go back here again. We remember Heningers telling us of this city.

A week of General Authority

Sept 11 2016 Well, not many can say they have been visited by 3 Church authorities in 1 week, let alone 3 days. We have been greatly blessed by the visit of an apostle of Jesus Christ, Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf  and Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy. We were also taught and visited by Elder Henk Boom, an Area authority from Holland, wow, what a week. On Tuesday, we had a meeting with Pres Uchtdorf and Elder Kearon at our learning center in Chișinău. First we had a group picture with the leaders and missionaries, then Pres. Uchtdorf took the time to meet each of us, shake our hand and get pictures- those have to be approved by his office. Then we had a meeting, the 2 leaders, Elder Kearon and Pres. Uchtdorf for 1.5 hours- 20 missionaries and 6 seniors. It was wonderful and special to each of us there. Then that evening we had a member and guest meeting at a hotel (our building was too small) where about 180 came. Pres. Uchtdorf looked tired, having just come from a temple dedication, but when he stood to speak, it was obvious he was buoyed by the Spirit. It was hard for the translator to keep up to his energy for the gospel, the restoration and the potential in these countries. Here was a scary part- I was told beforehand I was responsible for his medical care if anything happened while he was in Moldova. Ever prayed intensely for an apostles health before? It was a very interesting responsibility, if only for a day. After that meeting, we got on a bus for an all-night ride to Predeal, Romania, arriving at 730 am on Wednesday. We had a missionwide conference. While we were hiking, the Romanian missionaries were meeting with Pres. Uchtdorf. While in Brașov, we met with our mission president and Elder Henk Boom. Elder Boom and his wife had that lovely accent I have grown to love in Bow Island, the Dutch flavor, of which I know and love so many people at home. They were fantastic with instruction and encouragement. We got to visit with them and feel of their testimony. We left for home then on late Thursday afternoon, getting home at 4 am this time on Friday morning. We visited the castle of Peleș again, ate at 2 fancy places and got to visit many missionaries again. We were tired of buses, but had a joyous week of instruction and edification.
Pres. Uchtdorf talking with Elder Bekker, Deb in the background.

Lucky sisters, from left, Sister Nicol, Jerez, Lee and Schow

view out of our hotel window in Predeal, Romania

 Now a few of a mountain hike, this is Elder Jardine, from Orhei. He is a big dude and got in more than a few of my pictures

Trail was quite steep in places. If you can believe it, they offered us old people a jeep, whatever.

the group all resting at a spot, waiting for a few stragglers

Elder and Sister Cooley, he did very well with bad hips and knees

One of our views up near the top

It was a warm day and the spring water was very cool and tasty- who cares about Giardia when you are hot?

A solemn group, looking at the mountains in awe.
So I have a few more pictures, it will be on the next post. A little too much for one. What a week!

Sunday, 4 September 2016


Sept 4 2016 We have been greatly blessed to find out that President Uchtdorf will stop in Romania and Moldova on his way home from the Freiberg temple dedication. On Tuesday this week, President Uchtdorf will come into Moldova with President Ivory and Elder Kearon , visit with missionaries and then with members in a meeting that evening. So we have great anticipation. Moldova is getting spoiled- last year they had a visit from Elder Ballard. The meeting will be in a hotel, the Church building is just too small for a crowd. So we anticipate a great week. Friday we prepped our YSA with a talk from Pres. Uchtdorf, English and Russian and then had a competition with paper airplanes, distance, accuracy and flight time. We had over 40 take part and it was amazing to see these adults,mostly, have fun like kids. The ice cream and fruit did not hurt either. We got yelled at severely in Russian this week, trying to retrieve treasure hidden in a sandpile near a house. It was on the street, but as we tried to find the remaining treasures, a lady came out and yelled at us for several minutes as we just left. Between the heat and the politics, it is just better to be careful. So many angry people. We picked up a new sister missionary on Thursday and just about had a severe car collision, 3 minutes after getting her from the train. A BMW ran a red light, it was close. Deb got to be companion to Sister Nicol for 2 days in between transfers, she stayed over at our place. Nice to have a third person to pray. Yesterday I was in a village, Dancu, near the border of Romania. We were asked by a member to come help at a graveside service for a suicide as none of the priests in the village would help.  So I took a member and 2 elders, met the member in Dancu  and went to the home. The body stays in the living room for 2 days, then goes to the grave yard. No funeral home prep here. We were greeted with a lot of suspicion and they kept asking if we were Orthodox. Ruslan kept explaining who we were, but it did not help. I finally let them see the prayer I had written, my cheat sheet, for the dedication of the grave. As soon as they read the name of Christ, Isus Hristos, they were fine. Very interesting. The only beverage was white or red wine, no help to us. We did do the trek to the cemetery, a place where goats would struggle, but we were of some help to a family in need. Gheorghe, the member, was very nice and very grateful. By the way, I thought I was beginning to understand spoken Romanian, but that village dialect was a killer, almost no understanding for me. Other interesting thing, if ground is hard, 6 feet not mandatory, this was barely 3.So no pics of that, understandably, but a few of our activity.
Elder Paterson just made a bad throw, this was the accuracy part.

Elder Sanchez trying, also very bad.

By the time we were done, there were planes everywhere.

This was for flight time, Corina just let her plane go

The ice cream, did I mention it comes in a plastic bag?

Sevghi in the middle, Elder Sanchez on the R. Sevghi leaves on a mission in 10 days , to the Ukraine
So we have a busy week, but it should be very special, to talk with an apostle of the Savior.