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.

My Photo
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our Visitors!

This is the second time we have had family come to visit us in Romania! The first time was in July of 2006 where we immensely enjoyed having three of our grandchildren spend a transfer here. They traveled the mission with us and participated in everything we did. This year, during general conference weekend, President Ashby’s brother, President Ray Ashby (he’s a stake president), also came with his wife to visit us for a total of 3 weeks and participate with us on our Zone Conference tour.
We don’t get very many opportunities to travel the country and see the sights so this time we decided to do things a little bit different. Usually we drive to the western part of the country, do zone conferences in Arad and Oradea, return to Bucharest and do two zone conferences there. After a couple of days we leave again and travel on the east side of the country and do zone conferences in Iasi and Brasov. It usually takes us 2 to 3 weeks to cover this area.

(Florin and Isabela Gembasu entertained our family in Oradea. This photo was taken at the “Bear Caves”. Florin is the Branch President there and he and his wife do an amazing job.) This trip we traveled west (held our zone conferences), and then headed north, and when almost to the top part of the country, took roads unknown to us and traveled east across the country to Iasi. We then held our zone conference there and afterwards headed down to Brasov. The trip took us over two weeks but was a fun adventure! We got to see country we have never seen before and had some new experiences. Our number one priority, of course, is our missionaries and since President Ashby’s brother has been a Seminary and Institute teacher his whole life, we had he and his wife speak during our conferences. I gave up my time slot for speaking and let me tell you, it was well worth it! Teresa Ashby taught the missionaries the Time Line in the scriptures of the House of Israel from Abraham to present day. Everyone was fascinated and we all learned a lot. President Ray Ashby taught the importance of the scriptures in their daily lives and gave us some great hand outs. It was a wonderful conference and the spirit was amazing. Above anything else we do this is by far the most important and rewarding. It is incredible the blessings of the spirit you experience as a missionary. For us, it is always humbling to be taught by our young missionaries. They are truly the warriors our Father in Heaven saved for these last days.(This photo is of our zone conference in Cluj-Napoca)
While traveling we were able to take two preparation days and visit Dracula’s castle in Bran and Hunedoara castle by Deva. We also attended church and spoke in two different branches and had dinner with a member in Lipova, when President Ashby stopped to do a temple recommend interview. The member’s husband is a Game Warden and he fed us Wild Boar that he had just hunted. Ray and Teresa had the opportunity of eating in a traditional Romanian home in the country. They ate all home grown food and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of these good people. The culture is different here and it was a lot of fun for them to experience this.
As we traveled we went through villages in the north who had “Pot Tree’s” in their yards. Every home had their pots hung outside in a special tree. The pots are all enamel and many different colors. Lots of the homes also hung the pots on the side of the house when their tree was full. I think it is a competition between the housewives.
Other villages had amazing, ornate wooden gates. In the old days of Romania all the homes and churches were made from wood. The gates are beautifully carved and I believe it is a big deal to have a gate as ornate as your neighbors, if not more so. It appeared to be a competition!
We visited the biggest wooden monastery in Romania and our family had the experience of trying an outdoor toilet that was merely a hole in the ground…..another new experience, but I’m glad they had it!
One of the special things we did was stop in a little village and visit a farmer and his wife to buy a sheepskin and some table coverings she had made. Wow! Were we humbled. This sweet couple are in their seventies and are amazing hard workers. If the world fell apart today I think they would be a couple that would survive. They make everything they use….they grow all their own food, make their own butter, sour cream, etc. They proudly showed us their tiny food cellar under their house, the cow in the barn with her new calf, the chickens, and the man’s, just harvested, potato crop. I don’t think the potatoes were any larger than golf balls, but he was so proud of them. They then insisted we have dinner with them and we watched as this dear lady cooked Marmaliga (corn mash) with onions and pork pieces on her wood burning stove. She had to go outside and get water from the well and, by the way, when we asked to use the restroom it was an outhouse by the barn. They also brought us a tray of little glasses with homemade alcohol. It took some real explaining to get them to understand that we don’t drink, but we assured them, if we did we would have loved their homemade brew. (Actually, I think it would have burned our throats out!)

Afterwards, she showed us the table cloths, rugs and coats she makes. She takes the wool from the sheep, cards it, spins it into thread and then sews beautiful items. I thought her table cloths were made in a factory and was shocked to see her loom and how they were all handmade. What a treat this was. When we left the woman put her hand on her heart and said she would wait with love in her heart for us to come again. We couldn’t teach them about the gospel as their village was too far from any of our branches. You can’t baptize someone when they have no way to go to church to partake of the sacrament and strengthen their testimonies. It is very frustrating but the way it must be for now. We did stop in the city of Sighisoara and gave Liahona’s and other material to the lady who owned the little hotel we stayed in. She was wonderful and had been given a Book of Mormon a year ago and was anxious for more material.

I only wish all of our missionaries could go by car so they could see more of the country like this. Many of them have special experiences in their branches and I am grateful for that. You really learn to love these people as you experience their sacrifices, love and hard work.

This video is of a lady playing a Romania bagpipe. It is made out of the skin from a goats body.

Sunday, October 07, 2007