Grandma Chubby's Stuff

I hope you enjoy my postings. My husband and I are serving a mission in Romania and have had some wonderful adventures. Each of us have experiences in our life that make us different from that time forth. These experiences have done that for us.

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Location: Bucharest, Romania

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cold in Bucharest!

This is "The People's Palace" which is the second largest building in the world.....second only to the Pentagon. But actually, I am puttng this here to show you it is a cold winter day. But our hearts are warm.....

Today John and I attended church in Sector 6. It was a cold, wet and snowy day. We had no heat in the Villa and my feet were frozen. However, the meeting was warm with the spirit. Four different missionaries asked me if they could translate for me and I told them all no, as I am trying to make myself intently listen so that I can learn the language better. I pick a few words out of every sentence. Sometimes I get the general idea of what they are speaking about and other times I am way, way off base! But today, right in the middle of the meeting, Elder Ramsey just came and sat down by me and started translating without even asing me. I didn't have the heart to tell him to stop. He told me afterwards that he goes home in April and this is only the second time he has translated for anyone. I was glad I didn't say anything to him because they all want the experience of translating. It isn't easy and he did a great job.

John was the last speaker and spoke about holding Family Home Evening. It was a good talk and went well. Afterwards he had some interviews so I ended up going to Relief Society. A Romanian student translated for me there and at the end of the meeting they asked me to say a few words. I shouldn't have been surprised but I was. I talked about their upcoming activity to make skirts for the sisters who don't own a skirt so they have a dress to wear to church instead of pants. I told them that wearing a dress showed respect for the church and for our Heavenly Father. They were all in agreement and that made me glad. The style in Romania is very, very tight pants and when the young people wear pants it is often not very modest.

At the end of church, Brother Doru invited us to dinner---in an hour. I was surprised but he said, my husband said, it would be fine. When I asked John later he said that he had told Fratele Doru to ask me as he didn't know if I anything else going on. Well anyway, we went! It was wonderful to get to know this family. Fratele Doru entertained us with his conversion story while his wife fixed a huge meal! We didn't know what we were getting into. The first course had salads and meats, the second course was bread and then Sarmale with cooked cabbage and Marmaliga. After that we were blessed with plates of fruit. I thought that was the end and was stuffed, but no, next came mashed potatoes and other meat. After that was several desserts. We finally had to refuse the mashed potato couse so we could eat dessert. We were so stuffed we had to roll ourselves out of there and then we went home and took a nap! I think one reason they serve so many courses is that the apartments are so small they don't have big tables to serve on so they serve on the coffee table and just keep bringing out the courses!

Brother Doru told us that when he was in his twenties he and 17 other people went to the docks and jimmied the locks on one of those big metal containers that are used for shipping goods overseas. They then hid themselves in the container to go to Canada. They goofed and ended up in Florida after 18 days of travel. It was dark and stuffy and for one day they didn't know if they would have enough air to live. Wow, what an experience that must have been. When they realized they had ended up in the USA they took a bus to NY and then another bus to Montreal, Canada. Upon arriving they asked for Political asylum and were granted it. In Montreal he got a job. His whole reason for going there was to make a better life for himself as he could see no future in Romania.

He told us he was raised strict Orthodox and always in his own prayers he would ask God to help him find the way back to Him so he could serve Him. He said he got to know a girl who was a Mormon and she started telling him about the church. She gave him a book of Mormon and he read little parts of it but never the whole book. She told him the Joseph Smith story and then told him how the book of Mormon was translated. He decided that if this was all true then God would tell him too. If Joseph Smith saw God then why couldn't he? Or else maybe He would come to him in a dream. So, he would pray about it all the time, but his prayer was never answered the way he visions! However, he said that one day he was driving on the highway and thinking and praying to God. He said suddenly this intense warm feeling came over him and he knew he had his answer. He knew the church was true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet and all he did was true. He said he was surprised as he didn't know at the time that this experience was the Holy Ghost testifying to him. He just knew without any doubt that all of this was true. It shocked him as he had never had an ezxperience like this before. But as the experience was happening he knew without any doubt it was from God.

He then told us that the girl who told him about the church had copied and given his picture to three of her friends and asked them if they would fast with her for Brother Doru to know the church was true. They were fasting for him on the very day he had this experience. He then decided he had to go to church and the next Sunday he walked in church. No one talked to him or said anything, but he sat down and paid attention to everything that went on. During Sacrament meeting, one of the girls who had his picture and had been fasting for him recognized him and started to cry.

Now, you have to know that at this point he had never met a missionary or even read the Book of Mormon all the way through. After Sacrament meeting he went into Sunday School. During the lesson he stood up and said, "I know the church is true and I want to be baptized. How do I do this?" You can imagine the surprise of the members. "Are you meeting with the missionaries?" they asked. "No, I have never met a missionary. Will you please tell me how to find them?"

Well, as you can imagine, it didn't take long for the members to get him with the missionaries and it wasn't long after that he was baptized a new member of the church. The story doesn't quite end here. His reason for going to Canada was to make a new life for himself where he would prosper and be able to get married and offer a wife and family more than he could in Romania. After his baptism he wuld pray and ask God what He wanted him to do with his life. The strongest impressions he received was that he should go back to Romania. He fought that. He didn't want to go back. He had suffered getting to Canada and he wanted to build a life there. But he said the feelings were so strong and he knew God was telling him he had to go back.

He took a leap of faith and went back. To his surprise he got a job shortly after and started school. It took him 3 years but he got a law degree and then met his wife to be. They were married. He got a really good job selling insurance (which is a new and growing business in Romania) and now has two beautiful daughters, ages 4 and 6. He has made investments in land and financially is doing well. He went to the temple and he and his wife were sealed there. He is now a counselor in the District presidency and is amazing in helping the church grow in Romania. He is a strong and valiant man and a true blessing to the members in the country. Because of his willingness to come back and trust in the Lord he has been blessed beyond his dreams. He loves living in his own country.

Lastly, he again said he was truly raised a devout Romanian Orthodox, but he never felt the spirit like he does now. That was the difference for him. Many times he has looked to God for help in his life but never until the Holy Ghost became a part of his life did he realize how God can and will direct and guide you if you only give Him the chance. He said that one of the first things he felt was that he was not to pray to "Saints" anymore. The Orthodox church has "Saint" days several times a month and they are very important to the people here. He respects the feelings of others but he understands now that when you pray to a Saint you are just praying to another human and not God. That God does not want us worshipping other people or icons but only Himself.

His stoy touched us very much. We again realized how God has said many times in the scriptures that we need to ASK and if we do so with real intent He will answer our prayers and we will RECEIVE. Fratele Doru asked faithfully for years and after his test of faith, his prayers were answered. He is a wonderful example to all of us.s Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Try this for a warm coat!

In the two years we have been in Romania John has been fascinated with the big, long haired sheep skin coats worn by the shepherds. While traveling north he and his assistants saw this shepherd and stopped to ask him about his coat. He was rather shy but delighted to talk with them. He told them he had his same coat for over 20 years. It fits over his head like a big envelope and there is nothing warmer during the freezing cold months when he has to spend weeks and months out with his flock, tending them and searching for food. The coat is very beautiful, however, it was in need of a good cleaning! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sister's Conference on February 15, 2006

We held a wonderful Sister's Conference this month with all the sisters in our mission. Our theme was "Famous Last Words" referring to the last words many of our prophets in the scriptures said to their sons, family, people, etc. just before they died....these words being the most important teachings they could leave to those they cared about. It was a great day and we did everything from learning to be "Ninja Sisters" (for protection) to how to be the best missionaries in the world. Posted by Picasa