We have discovered that Church activities here in Romania are a little different than we have back home. All of the members here are converts within the last 20 years and most are coming from an Orthodox background. For people in Romania, the Orthodox Church is not where they socialize. So when they join our Church and become a society of saints it is a challenge for them to understand getting together for activities. They always want there to be a gospel theme and there must be the singing of hymns. The missionaries planned the last Arad Branch activity and it was a success. The theme was "putting on the whole armour of God," so the first thing the missionaries did was discuss with the members Ephesians 6:13. Then they were divided into two teams and were asked to dress one of their teammates in armour. Before the activity we missionaries had the challenge of gathering everything we could think of so there would be choices of things to make armour with. Missionaries only have things they use and need so we had to scramble. Thank goodness for tape and aluminum foil!
Elder Wahlquist, Stefan, Elena, Ioana, Ioana, Gabi and Sora Wahlquist
In September the YSA in the Bucuresti Center for Young Adults began a service project to make lap quilts. Boxes of fabric were donated from friends and family back home for the project. Because none of our YSA had ever quilted or even used a sewing machine before we were pleased with how quickly they learned the steps to complete a quilt.
Stefan designing his quilt.
George and Stefan sewing blocks together.
Sora Wahlquist and Alina discussing pattern.
Cami wasn't thrilled with this most necessary step.
Elena putting "sandwich" together.
Florin and Elder Cooper tying.
Florin with Ioana tying.
Florin was our "go to guy" when it came time to tie the quilts.
Elder Gunter with a English class student.
Ioana and Gabi
Well done, Stefan!
Sora Atkins and Sora Manole
Elena and Sora Wahlquist
Completing 50 plus quilts was definitely a group effort.
The quilts all found good homes.
Several were taken to a home for abandoned children.
We were not allowed to take their pictures, but the children were excited about picking out their very own quilt.
Elder and Sora Wolsey took quilts to a senior facility.
They were all impressed with the pretty quilts made by young people.
Ioana with her bunica (grandmother). Aren't they beautiful!
Several of the quilts were given to members with special needs and we were not able to get pictures. We are so grateful for all the work that the YSA did to make this project a success. Many lives were touched by their service. Multumim!
And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who sent fabric for this project. We could not have done it without you.
In mission speak, "dying" means going home. On April 30 Elder and Sora Howells died. So it's time to memorialize them. Of the 11 senior couples in the Romania/Moldova Mission 8 are from the United States, 2 from Canada and the Howells were from Sheffield, England. While they were on their mission, their children sold their home and moved all their belongings to Aberdeen, Scotland. Hopefully, they left a forwarding address.
The Howells just days before leaving.
During the last five months of their mission, we often traveled with them throughout the two countries visiting several of the 20 branches giving support and instruction. Both of them were teachers before coming on their mission and we learned so much from them.
I think we made a terrific team. This is the temple wheel we used as a visual aid when teaching about preparing to receive a temple recommend. Because we did all our traveling in a little blue Skoda sometimes the wheel, along with the rest of us, traveled for hours in very cramped quarters.
We occasionally spent a P-day with the Howells. Here we are in Brasov at the shop of a famous ceramics artisan. Elder and Sora Marcov joined us for this fun outing.
They lived in a neighboring city about an hour away from Bucuresti but when they came to town we often went with Elder and Sora Patton to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. We always liked to say "oh, this reminds us of home" so that the Howells could remind us that the HRC is a British restaurant chain.
And they knew how to party!
No one can visit Herestrau Park without getting their picture taken with a head.
Elder Howells was famous for his P-day "beans on toast" feast for the missionaries in his district. In case you are not familiar with this breakfast dish, it starts with toast, then two fried eggs and finishes with a few spoonfuls of pork and beans.
We learned from the Howells that we didn't speak proper English. We tried to tell him that because we won that war we can speak how we want. Evidently in England they actually have a different version of who the winners and losers were.
We get packages, they get parcels.
We almost get run over by trucks, they watch out for lorrys.
We try things out, they give it a go.
We get ticked off, they get cheesed off.
We arrange things, they mess about.
We buy gas, they purchase petrol.
Our neighborhoods are scary, theirs are a little dodgy.
We call people on the phone, they give them a ring.
When they want to get going, they say "shall we go straight away, then?"
My mom takes a bus to Tacoma, their mum takes the coach to Aberdeen.
When we started our trips, they always asked if we were settled and sorted.
I always loved it when they thought one of my ideas was absolutely brilliant.
When Elder Howells and Elder Wahlquist discussed football, it was evident they weren't talking about the same game.
I wish I knew how to photo shop!
We will miss the Howells terribly and wish them well in their new life in Scotland.
In April all 11 senior missionary couples (including President and Sora Hill) from the Romania/Moldova Mission came together for a two and a half day conference. We always enjoy meeting with these great couples.
Hard Rock Cafe
Traditional Romanian meal fixed by Rosie.
Rosie is our mission treasure. She worked for years as a cook in the British Embassy. After she retired one of the past mission presidents discovered her and she comes out of retirement on occasion just to cook for the Mormons. We all love her.
There was a rousing game of "Can You Pass the Spoons." First the men played.
Elder Patton and Elder Wahlquist playing.
Elder Patton and Elder Wahlquist grateful to be eliminated.
The Soras pass the spoons.
Three Elders and three Soras in first round of championship match. Soras Howells and Kitchen are the referees.
The men were quickly defeated (you can see them in the background complaining about some alleged cheating) and it was down to just me and Sora Wolsey. She won fair and square but I demand a rematch!
"Ye Elders of Israel" has never sounded so good. When they got to the "O Babylon" part we all had goose bumps. There is some outstanding talent in this senior group.
We visited Cismigiu Park where Elder Nelson dedicated the country of Romania to be opened for missionary work.
We were inspired!
Elder McFadden "inspired" us to get physical.
We heard many great and wonderful things from our President and Sora Hill.
Here in the Romania/Moldova Mission we are very safety conscious. Every missionary apartment has a water filter system, a CO detector, a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher. And we are given instructions on how to use them. Every apartment inspection involves checking all the safety equipment. So what we will forever after refer to as "the unfortunate fire extinguisher incident" seems very unusual. After our senior couples conference when we were loading the car for the trip back to Arad, I went back up to our room to get more bags. When I came out the hotel door this is what I saw.
Somehow Brent had managed to set off the fire extinguisher that is stored in the truck of the mission car (along with the jumper cables, flares and washer fluid). The devastation was stunning in it's completeness. The whatever-the-stuff-in-fire-extinguishers-is-called was everywhere. I looked up and there was Elder Heninger looking out his hotel window at the scene. He said he had been sitting by the window reading when he saw a puff of what he thought was smoke floating up past their window. When he looked out, he thought that the car engine had exploded. As the "dust" settled he could see Elder Wahlquist standing there with the extinguisher in his hand, covered in dust and laughing. Brent told me later that there was nothing else he could think to do except laugh.
So Elder Heninger took a picture or two.
No matter how hard he shook, the dust was there to stay.
Because we were going to be stopping in the city of Sibiu to visit their branch the next day, we tried everything to get him looking presentable. Wet towels just seemed to rub the dust around. We finally gave up and he just looked very dusty in church. When we got home and took the clothes that had been effected to the cleaners, there was no language barrier. The clerk just kept shaking her head and made disgusted noises. We definitely understood that the job of getting the suit and two raincoats clean might be impossible. And then we took the car to get it cleaned inside and out. Again, some communication is universal. He just put his arm up to his forehead and shook his head. Needless to say he received a big tip when he made the car look like new. We pick the clothes up tomorrow...........