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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Testimony of Alina Matei from Bacau

There are many wonderful conversion stories in Romania and I have had people ask me if I would tell some of them. So today I am going to post one. This happened last week when our assistants, Elder Jackson and Elder Despain, were on exchanges in Bacau. Elder Jackson had the opportunity to baptize a girl he gave the discussions to in the past months, and then Elder Despain had the opportunity to baptize Alina (never having met her before), after challenging her to be baptized that day. Here is her story:
The following is the journal entry from Alina Matei, a recent convert in Bacau, a modern day miracle.

"The 20th of February was the most beautiful day of my life, because I haven’t felt the same since.
Is was a day like any other, in which I had to go to school, then hearing that there was going to be a baptism I was very interested and decided that I too needed to participate, because I had never been to a baptism performed in the “Church of Jesus Christ and of the Latter Day Saints.” So, after classes I left with my classmate and friend Corina to the villa. When I entered, an Elder who I didn’t know was playing the keyboard, we I introduced myself, and then I went to greet everyone else, like Elder Jackson who had come specially from Bucuresti to perform this baptism, and the Elders in the Bacau branch.
Elder Despain (that is the name of the one who was playing the keyboard, had come with Elder Jackson) was an unknown person to me for I had never seen him before, but he inspired a trust and quietness within my soul, not understanding at the moment what was happening with me. After the baptism took place and Mihaela and Elder Jackson were changing, we were singing songs in the church, during which Alin asks me when I am going to invite him to my baptism, and I answered him “that I don’t know!!” Elder Despain was next to Alin so heard it, and asked me “you aren’t a member?” to which I replied; “not yet!” and he said to me: “wouldn’t you liked to get baptized this evening?!!” I was left very astonished, but in the same time very happy, it wasn’t for the first time that someone was asking me if I want to be baptized, but this time was very different, it seemed like an angel asked me, and without saying anything yet, I knew that I agreed with this baptism, I had felt that I received the answer that I had waited for for along time, like a year.
Even though I was sure that I want to be baptized in that evening, one thing was holding me back, but Elder Despain knows what that is, so I don’t need to say it. Immediately after the baptism, my interview took place, which, in my opinion, wasn’t hard at all because I felt so happy and so open to what Elder Despain said that I don’t even know how it went, I hope WELL!
After the interview, followed my baptism, but nobody being able to stay for the performing of the baptism, it was postponed until the next day.
It was wonderful to see how everyone was rejoicing for me, because they knew how tough it was for me to make this decision, which I don’t regret, I know that I am doing that which I feel, because that is how I was told by Elder Despain “Do that which you feel, that is right.” I forgot to say that the one that I chose to baptize me is Elder Despain because he was the one that through the power of the Holy Ghost made me make this decision.
Then all night I couldn’t sleep with my thoughts on the next day, one thing makes me sad: I would like for my family to be next to me, but I know that this is impossible, but the fact calms me that some of my friends will be near me at this baptism and I am very happy for that.
These lines were written 2 hours before the baptism and I am very nervous, I hope that everything turns out o.k., but I trust in the one who will baptize me, I know that this is a great honor for him as well.
In conclusion, these moments, I will never forget them, and neither the one that will perform this baptism."

-Alina Matei
Feb 22, 2007
Elder Jackson, just before his baptism, with Elders Walker and Baker.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Alin and Mariana's Wedding

On Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007, Alin and Mariana Constatinescu were married in Bucharest at the Primeria. This was a wonderful event for them as they have had a rocky road getting to this point. They left today for Spain where they will be sealed in the Madrid temple on Tuesday. From there they continue to Portugal where they will live while Mariana takes advantage of a college scholarship she has there. Many of you know them and we thought you would enjoy seeing these pictures. They are very happy and had much support from members and missionaries. For those of you who don't know, Romanians have to get married by a government official before they can have a ceremony in the church or go to the temple.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sharing a letter from Moldova

The scene here is hard to describe, either in words or pictures. On Saturday, the first day of English classes, every room was filled to capacity after a few vacancies in the nine o'clock hour, (a little early on a Saturday even in Moldova). People came on foot, by public transportation, taxicab or car. Seven, concurrent hour-long classes are taught of beginning (incepator), intermediate (mediu), or advanced (avanse) at 0900, 1100, 1300, 1500, 1700 and 1900. Other than the beginning classes, the others are taught in English. A class for Russian speakers is taught by Elena, a young lady who speaks six languages and has her mission call to Moscow entering the Provo MTC on 3 April. She's off to an early start here. Neeedless to say, by the end of the day, the missionaries are happily exhausted. On Sunday, five people who had attended classes the day before came to Church and most stayed through all three meetings. Two who sat near us were second year university students.

Each weekday night, classes are taught at 1700 and 1900 hrs. It was not intended to teach on Mondays, but demand made it necessary. Seven classes of 23 people each make over 160 new people coming to the Church each night. Before classes begin at 1700, some grade school children come to the Church with their school work books for help with their English lessons. They love to be with the missionaries who make them feel so special. Last night, three of the people who attended the 1700 hr classes stayed for the scheduled Institute class at 1800 hrs. Many want to learn more than English. It's fun to watch the Institute class limited to one hour, squeezed in between two English classes scheduled in their usual room.

If you were to hand select the class members, it couldn't be better than those who come. Most are very sharp young people of university age, a few older folks, some families, and a few grade schoolers dropped off by their parents who are waiting for them at the end of the hour. Though this is still in the first week of an eight week program, all seem well pleased with their experience as they leave. The long term impact of the program can only be imagined. What a blessing it is for these people.

E/S Lofgreen
Wed. Feb. 21, 2007
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Work in Moldova

The work is moving forward in Moldova. As all returned missionaries know English lessons are a great tool for getting investigators for the missionaries to teach the gospel to. In most of our cities, the missionaries will make up about 5,000 to 10,000 flyers advertising up-coming English classes, with a date for the interested applicants to come and register. Once people have registered we start the classes and hold them on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. They run for eight weeks. Each class starts with prayer and at the end of the class we give a gospel thought. If people are interested in learning about the church the missionaries stay longer, answer their questions and teach them.
Two weeks ago our Moldovan missionaries made up 2400 flyers to advertise English lessons. They were hoping to get enough people to hold a few classes. There were two sign-up nights. The first night was the time it was finished the missionaries had 701 people signed up for classes! WOW! They were so excited but still had one more day of sign-ups. They really didn't expect that many more people because they had only made 2400 flyers and were excited to even get a few more registrants. Their hands were going to be full the way it was! Well, the second night came. An hour before sign-ups they had over a 50 people in line waiting for the doors to open. You guessed the end of the sign-up period they had approximately another 1000 people signed up for classes! Yes, we are excited and yes, they are going to be super busy! Elder Reed (one of the senior couples in Moldova) noted that most of the registrants were in the 18-25 year age group and several were families. Sister Lofgreen said they had a meeting last week to determine how they were going to handle the added respondents. By using the baptismal font room, an additional class would be accommodated for a total of 7 concurrent classes. They are planning on teaching every day of the week plus all day on Saturday. As you know, almost 1700 responses to 2400 flyers is without precedent. The hand of Providence is present in so very many ways there. Classes started on Saturday, the 17th.
These photos are of the sisters (Durfee and Trujillo) passing out flyers; the gates at the chapel open for sign-ups and, people registering for the classes.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sibiu - The European Cultural City for 2007

One of our stops on our Zone Tour was in Sibiu to do interviews with the missionaries in that city. Sibiu has had the honor of being chosen as the European Cultural city of all of Europe for 2007. They have spent the last year or so painting and fixing up in preparation for all the visitors they expect this year. These are a few pictures of the center of the city. They don't do it justice but I wanted you to see a little bit of the culture and flavor of this ancient city.
President Ashby stands in front of freshly painted buildings. Romanians love color and their buildings are always brightly painted.

These buildings are part of a big Cathedral in the middle of the Centru.

This is a special bridge called the "Liars Bridge". Legend has it that soldiers from World War II wooed the Romanian girls here and promised them they would come back after the war and get them. They never did. And now, as long as you are on the bridge you can tell your sweetheart any lie you want and it is perfectly all right. This is President and Sora Ashby on the bridge....I wonder what he is saying to her!

Zone Conference in Cluj-Napoca

Zone Conference is a "Spiritual Shot in the Arm" for all of us. It is a time where we meet in one of the 6 cities we have zones and do a lot of teaching and sharing of testimonies. We usually begin at 9 A.M. and end around 4 P.M. Missionaries give talks, the zone leaders teach, the Assistants teach, Sora Ashby gives health tips, honors those with birthdays and also teaches. President Ashby ends the day with his instruction. We sing hymns, share testimonies and of course we eat! In this picture one of our newest sisters, Sora Andersen arrives with her companion, Sora Brandstatter from Oradeo to the Cluj Branch building where we held our conference. They were well prepared! They also won our "cleanest apartment" award, or the "Dirty Dustpan" prize!

A tradition that goes way back in this mission is that the President and his Assistants wear matching ties.....Romanian ties, that is! These good-looking ties for February are modeled by our equally good-looking leaders!

Yes, money does come into the equasion...Lunch has to be paid for and Elder Dabling is making sure Elder Lazoore gets his share of the dues. Lunch consisted of Saramale, (made by a generous member), vegetable lasagne (made by Sora Lund out of consideration for President Ashby), salads, bread, cake and ice cream! Not too bad! Missionaries are always happy when there is good food to eat!

And last of all, Elders, Poirier, Armstrong, Cook, Goodell and Gehmlich make sure they get some cake!
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We got lost!

Elder Despain and Elder Jackson pick out the three brooms we bought from the gypsies. These two boys were driving this whole wagon-load of brooms to the city to sell when we ran into them. We had taken a wrong turn and got very lost! The boys spent ten minutes telling us where to go and how to get there. They were very helpful and were actually quite happy that we wanted to take their picture (along with the gypsy girl in the picture below this). I think their horse was named Radu and he was a very polite horse!

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On The Road Again!

Well, last weekend we headed out again for our Zone Conference tour. We see all kind of interesting things as we travel and we thought we would share a few of them with you. This World War II era plane is not a small cafe in the middle of nowhere! We pass it on our way to Timisoara from Deva. It's rather run-down and I think Coca-Cola must have paid to have it painted at one time but the paint is peeling and other than taking a good look at it we haven't dared check out the food!
Gypsies are amazing people. They are either very poor and live in wagons and on the street or they are building huge mansions! You can always tell a gypsy mansion by the silver, turrets on the roof. This is one example of a well-off gypsy home.

A typical Romanian Orthodox church. Every village, no matter how small, prosperous or poor, has a cathedral or two lining the streets.
This sweet gypsy girl was selling brooms on the street. Her family makes them from twigs and we bought three of them for 30 mii apiece. ( about a dollar) They do a great job sweeping up dirt and rocks!

Zone Leaders

About a week ago we held a special Zone Council meeting to review the Mission Standards of Excellence. It was an all-day meeting and we really accomplished a lot. These are our current zone leaders and they are terrific. (Top Photo) Starting from the bottom .... Elders Baker, Lazoore, Despain (Assistant), 2nd row: Elders Adams, Walker, Boardman,; (on sofa:) Elders Jackson (Assistant), Goodell, Jerome and McKie; 3rd row (standing) Elder Nicholson, (sitting) Elder Gines, Jaynes, Ryttersgaard and President Ashby.
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