Sunday, 30 April 2017

Goodbye Cooleys

April 30 2017. We are now 5 days post Cooleys, they have returned to Nibley Utah after 18 months of service. We had a YSA party for them on Monday night as they were always supporting whatever YSA activity was going on. They were generous to a fault, if that is a fault. He and I agreed to swap fishing and hunting pictures. Yes he too is a good man. We inherited their Opel for a couple of weeks, an SUV with all wheel drive, a fact they never shared while they had the bigger car. Hmmm. We actually miss our little Opel which is much nicer to dart through holes in the traffic and dart into holes in the roads. When will it return? Don't know, the suspension is killing us. We got to do some hunting this week, but it was hunting for a person in a village- a village of 4200 people with only 2 street signs we could see and a rare house number- who needs numbers if you don't know what street you live on?
This is the do it yourself project- quite neat

The hunt was a partial success as the home was found, but the game was away. A couple of the pictures are from the near by village, a guy working on his project. We also got to witness an ambulance crew from here in action. We went to see a member and found him fallen on the floor , unable to get up and confused. We called an ambulance, but the members said it would be interesting.  It was, first they said why they would not take him, then refused to take info from us, only from him, who was acutely confused. Then an ECG, primitive type, then a BP, I requested a temperature, and finally they decided to take him to the hospital. How do we get a patient from the 4th floor? On a vinyl sling, head down, and they needed help. I had much I wanted to say, but none of it would have helped, so I bit my tongue-hard. And was more thankful for Western ambulance service. I have been an ambulance director and these guys would not have a job on any of my crews.  They did get the man to a hospital, what will happen next is the question. We did have a visit this week from Josef Kucskar, from Hungary, the Church CES coordinator. He visited with us, watched us teach and suggested a day of education later. He was a gracious kind man, who is a great asset here in Eastern Europe, and has seen much in his time. It was a great visit for us. So there are a variety of pictures as usual.
These are from the party, Deb made a photo booth. Imagine young people wanting their picture taken. Here are Mariana and Nina, one of at least 10 they had taken

Viktor and Alex Tita

Tita, Elder Savage, Elder Kramer

Elder Loder, Elder Morgan, Elder Hoisington and Mihai

Iulia Iuhimciuc

Evgenie Bekker, Elder Kohler, Elder Brodskyy

The group holding Elder Soloviov, Elder Huntsman is on the L front

from L, sister Idiart, Sister Langenstein, C.D., Sister Strader, Sister Dusenberry

Nikita from Balti, with a Canadian T shirt we gave him

Olga, with an afghan from my Aunt Yvonne

Still more damage

At FHE, we wove a web and tried to keep a ball in the air. It worked sometime

Here is the "stretcher", or sling. Imagine 4 floors of this

If one was not well before, one was after the carry
I am more thankful than ever for good ambulance services. Kelly Byam in Bow Island, take a bow. I appreciate you even more now.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A winter wonderland?

April 23 2017  When I wrote earlier in the week, I had just found out I was carless for 3 weeks or so. Deb had gone to Bucharest for a sisters conference and I had a few things to do. Well, let me tell you of winter, and later to show pictures. Wednesday I was trying to rent a car, and could not find one until Thursday. So I borrowed a car and drove to Bălți, with Evgenii Bekker, a wonderful man who was a missionary here. Bălți was great, we gave an afghan of Aunt Yvonnes away to a young girl, Olga, and had a great visit. Thursday I woke to snow. Snow? The law here is to remove snow tires from all cars by the end of March, or a fine can be had.  That tells you how often it snows in April. So I went to check on my rental car, not quite ready yet. Come out of the office and, a tree has fallen right beside my borrowed car. Go get Elder Cooley to return his car, trees are falling over roads, one crashed down right behind us, blocking a road. Close. I foolishly get my rental car, take it home, and there it stays for 2.5 days, because of snow. Deb and the sisters barely make it home Thursday night, because of the snow. Friday morning, the city is a disaster- 50 cm of snow or so. Trees down everywhere, no buses, a few roads open, a mess. We had to keep the missionaries inside as going out is not safe.Some had no food, they had been  advised otherwise, one set lost their keys  while going out to find food and could not get back in. We could not get to help them for a day- they got to stay with a member reasonably close by. What a mess, and it will be bad for agriculture here, many crops were up, flowering. The country will be hard hit. Deb and I shovelled a driveway with buckets and a short shovel, I watched a man shovel a car on the street out with a sand shovel. We got to use our rental car by Saturday night, a nice Prius, which does not like snow, by the way. Today snow is melting like crazy. It is also the day they call Easter for the dead, where people go to the cemetery for lunch with their dead family members. The cemeteries are wet, cold, snowy and with fallen trees. Sounds like a great day to me. At least one will have enough to eat. Speaking of food, our other pleasant task this week, was helping 4 elders in a senior members apartment which needed cleaning. 20 bags of cockroaches, molding food, maggots, an uncleaned pile of paper etc in a bathroom. It was an eyeopener. We need this poor man to be in a lodge- no such thing here without a lot of money. Count your blessings again at home. He has no family in the country,
Let the pics of winter begin. First from our deck, as you can see there is a lot of snow. 2 days later, almost gone.

The next few are around our building. 50 cm of snow or so

No one got to work today

4th on the left is my rental car, nice and easy to drive.

These guys looked hard and never did shovel the driveway out.

Post snow damage, the next few pictures are from the public park-Stefan cel Mare

If trees could cry. I thought of Lord of the Rings

There were some big ones fall, this is on the mainstreet

Picture of Elder Welling on the L, Igor Ivanova, Elder Housington on the R

A white day, both snow and baptism. The suit is a little short, but the testimony is deep and full . We think the legs melted with the snow.
It is a difficult situation that kept me awake one night. The week ended with a baptism, a very nice man, Igor, who came for dinner today. Like many, his story would fill a book. He has a deep voice that just booms when he talks, he talked at his baptism first in Russian, then repeated it all in English. By the way, today we are like the wicked witch- we are melting!
    So, never boring here. In two days, the Cooleys are going home. We will miss them as we work together, especially in FHE and YSA activities. They have served well, She is a gem and Elder Cooley, well, he has an odd sense of humor. Still a great couple who gave their all here, and more.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Back to work

April 19 2017  It is a very early morning and is very quiet. Deb and the other sister missionaries left yesterday for Bucharest for a sister conference, so I am alone for a few days. Not that one is ever alone here, with multiple young missionaries calling frequently, for one thing or the other. We are just after Easter, with all its traditions in this country. Deb and I went to a cathedral on Saturday night just to see some of the traditions. Some are nice- like people greet each other with Hristos a înviat- or Christ is risen.  That is nice. Other parts, not so nice for us. The big cathedral was open to the throngs- there were 2 large kiosks to buy candles and icons as one comes in- it reminded me of the temple w here Jesus threw out all the money traders. A small candle- 50 lei. And the prices go up from there. Everywhere was a slot to put donations. People were also in a line to get food blessed by a priest- also at a price. There were many who went around the church kissing pictures and icons- the contamination was hard to fathom. It all was very unusual to us, and very ritualistic , very little thought at all. Overall, interesting, but uncomfortable. No one smiling, just going through some rituals which seemed to an outsider designed more for money than worship. Sunday we had a large group over for dinner, it will be come our tradition here. They do like our food. We had  a nice meal with our branch president and his wife on Monday night. She made a killer sweet cheese pie- absolutely delicious. She is Russian, from Rostov and one of the nicest people we have met here. They have a young baby boy who loved being held, Deb is good with this. Yesterday, after seeing Deb off, I was able to help 4 elders as we cleaned an apartment for an elderly member who desperately needs a lot of help. He is in an old building, infested with cockroaches, and we took out 20+ large bags of garbage. He needs a home, which is an impossibility here. I was up most of the night thinking over options for this poor man, in the early phases of dementia. There is simply no infrastructure or help here for these people. Food, cleaning , toileting, all are an issue. The solution, dont have one yet. It was an eye opener for the elders. Hard to open a drawer and have roaches run over your hands.Or to clean maggots from a refrigerator. We will ponder and pray about this. Oh, and our little vehicle we like to call a car, had a dreadful noise, found out there are serious problems with the suspension. It is now waiting for parts- for 3+ weeks and is not safe to drive. So back on the bus, and considering our options there as well. I think the multiple holes on the highways and byways finally took their toll.
The next few pictures are from an Ester egg dyeing activity we had, hope you appreciate the small space and the seriousness all had , this was serious  business. Victor at the end is very intent.

Some were wood, some were real eggs

Remember Elder Bekker? He is back as a U of Utah intern, with a beard

This was Moldovan roulette, 6 people had an egg to hit against their forehead, one was not boiled. Elder Welling in the middle had  the egg on his face. Notice Chiril trying to tell whether he was the lucky one?

The next few pictures are from the display in the park, There were 20 pictures of the Savior at different parts of his earthly life, depicted.

Sister Cooley arranged all of this , getting the pictures  and permission. Every day the police checked to see if permits were in place.

Elder Huntsman

2 fine Ukrainian missionaries at the table, Sister Strader and Elder Soloviov

Next couple of pictures are from the park, Cathedral park. It is nice and green  here, unlike the snow we left behind in Canada

These little purple flowers are everywhere

An interesting sculpture, it seems to be Mary crying, holding a crucified Christ. Deb quite liked it, especially the tear, Myself, not so much.
So to end this post, anyone got a car to lend? We may be renting for a week or so. I was n the bus yesterday, and while nice and interesting, it is hard to get our materials around.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Funeral in Canada

April 15. It has been an interesting week , to say the least. When last I posted, I was contemplating a return to Canada to come to the funeral of my father, who had a severe CVA. Deb and I were trying to figure out how to do this and keep an activity for the YSA also going, which was due last Saturday. [ Cancelled in our absence, due to bad weather- it was an outside service activity] So I had bought a ticket home, and then , last Thursday , as we were preparing to leave, Pres. Ivory phoned, saying a new directive from the missionary department, meant that either we both went, or neither one of us went. This was quite a step for Deb, who hates flying and was worried about the difficulty in leaving home and grandbabies if she returned. But she quickly decided she would come, so I could return. So we bought a second ticket, finding that airlines do not give away last minute ticket, but instead, try to recoup any losses on those desperate to fly. I will not say any more about the price gouging, other than to say, it was interesting to try to book a second ticket at the same time as one bought only 6 hours earlier. In the end, it all worked out. We scrambled all day, trying to prepare to fly and get our activity ready. We left Moldova Friday, April 7 at 6 am, and Dad was still alive at that time. When we were in the air between Bucharest and London, he did pass away, not easily. Edwards have their own way of doing things, and to say the least, are self directed, even in death. He died on his birthday, turning 88. We arrived in Calgary at 3 pm their time, were picked up by Dirk, and arrived back home by 630 pm on Friday. We had a good time reuniting with family, with all returning on Saturday except Bren, of course , and Courtney. What did we first notice about Canada? Good roads, and the overall cleanliness. And the quiet- no horns or sirens. We slept in the basement of our house, our request. We were able to meet with family and friends over the next 2 days. It was odd, I felt a lot of guilt at being home before we were done, even though I knew it was less than a week. Still felt that responsibility. I was able to help dress Dad, and be alone with him for a while. We had the lawyer visit with my sister Shauna on Monday, then family visiting and viewing on Monday. I was able to speak at the funeral, and also dedicate the grave. I had no regrets about my dad. He was ready to go and re unite with my mother. He led a good life and was known for his service. I felt good in  that I trained him to be a parent to my 5 sisters, he tried most things on me. We were equally stubborn and impatient, an interesting combination.He certainly taught me to work and to serve. I will miss him, but shed only a few tears, because I have no regrets and have no doubts about seeing my father again. We found out he read our letters to just about anyone who would listen. He seemed to be proud of his family. And we loved him. Tuesday we got the chance to return to the temple which was wonderful, especially in view of the funeral and thoughts of eternity. We left Canada early Thursday morning, arriving back in Moldova at noon on Friday, with a quick and uneventful flight. Deb did very well and I said we will need to go to Australia. It feels good to be back in Moldova, we still have things to finish. We had an Easter activity on Friday night, dyeing eggs. I loved seeing people back in Canada, especially family and friends. I was ale to visit a good friend, Leonard Piotrowski, who I thought would be dead before we returned. But no, we had a visit. I was glad to be at the funeral and see family. Now we return to work. With a bit of jet lag.

No pictures of the dead, but this is my fathers coffin, he would have loved the oak, being a carpenter

At the graveside with my sisters, from L, Shauna Leavitt, Cheryl Collicutt, Denise Curliss, Lorene Froc, Pam Sullivan

All the other pictures are family at the funeral, Pam, then Dan and Paul Heninger.  Dan served with his wife in Romania and Paul is my hunting buddy

Perry Froc in middle and two of his children, Logan on L, Clayton on R

Helen and Leif Erickson, Helen is a cousin who grew up with me in Barnwell,  we then were in the same ward for 25 years as old people

Dads oldest sister surviving, standing, Shirley Clements. To her left is my oldest Edwards cousin June Carter and her husband, Darwin. Those two are just angels on earth to all who know them

3 grandkids, Carter, Max and Aimee Edwards. They are a smart trio

Shauna and Denise

2 of my mothers sisters, Rea Fenske on R, Rissa Nelson on L

Sarah Froc, a niece. Sarah has spina bifida and just had major surgery a week ago on a shunt.
So life goes on, it was a whirlwind week . We are very thankful for family and it was good to see them all. We will miss my dad, but know it is all good. We both have made it back to Moldova with nary a whimper, we have work enough to do, ere 3 months goes by. And at our age, it will be quick. Sorry for all the family photos, but this is important to us. Families are forever.