Sunday, October 25, 2009


This week marks our 1st month anniversary living in Eastern Europe. Our experiences here have been surreal and we sometimes find ourselves wondering if we'll ever wake up from this crazy dream. We are now familiar with the Metrou system and can get around quite well. On foggy mornings, we stay in our apartment and use the time to go over former projects, make reports, and do some basic accounting. If you think this sounds impressive, you can be sure that we're out of our comfort zone and flying by the seat of our pants most of the time! We are currently in contact with an organization that assists the Rroma (Gypsy) community and we hope to report next week on our upcoming project. We have learned that things take time here and their word, "imediat" translates to our word, "whenever"! Our language skills are sadly inadequate most of the time and we waver between "We can learn this, dangit" to "There's no hope; hand gestures work!" We still study and try to speak and understand and if we look back on the month, we've really improved! The weather is mild now and we sleep with windows open until the road noise drives us loony. The rain of last weekend sent us scrambling to buy hearty umbrellas and a winter coat and now that we have 60 degree weather, the joke's on us! We love it here and consider it a privilege to work as Humanitarian Missionaries.

Enjoy the pictures of the week.

This picture was taken from a glass elevator and shows the beauty of this city. Although there are thousands block apartment buildings, this scene shows one of the stately fountains and yes, grass. Notice, there's no one on the grass. Two words, "Just dogs"!

We attended our first "District Meeting" with the Elders in our district. Transfers are this week and during the meeting, our district leader got a call from the Mission President. This shot was not posed and shows these cute Elders straining to hear some news.

This is Primary! You guessed it...I'm in good company with Logan and Joanne and Holly and Jonathan and Suzette and Barb! My actual calling is "Oversee-er". If I could only understand anything, I could also be the "Overhear-er" as well! This is "Singing Time!" HELP!
Denny is the "Oversee-er of the English-speaking Gospel Doctrine class and on the High Council.

Taking a tip from Jonathan, I never miss an opportunity to take pictures in a church! We took off our tags (it's manners) and joined in like family at the baptism of two babies. There were flash cameras all over so this was a rare opportunity to catch pictures of this ornate and ancient Orthodox church.

Notice the video camera.

Here, the mother reads the script while the Priest holds the book.

And, here's the "Church of the North Face". Who needs an REI?

Behind these murals is a huge city mall. Denny bought his coat here one day and when we went back to pick it up after alterations, it took us an hour to find the store!

This is crazy! These pictures were taken from our balcony and show 2 Gypsy women holding babies going from car to car asking for money. They dip the baby down to show it to the driver.

Then...the light changes and the cars whiz by leaving the women in the middle of 50 mph. traffic. I held my breath! The process starts again with the next red light!

Cars drive everywhere they can, even on the sidewalk!

For now, this is the best picture I can get of a local Romanian man.

This is a portable car wash. All you need is a hose and 2 ramps and a cute design!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Our week began with the news that a long-awaited shipment of aid supplies had just arrived into port in Constanta. This was terrific news as this shipment was nearly a year in the making. We brought along four cheerful and able missionaries to assist in the unloading of this 40' container filled with pallets of hygiene kits, school supplies, home-made quilts, and wool blankets. All the supplies are from the Church's Humanitarian Department in Salt Lake City. The missionaries worked for 2 1/2 hours unloading. They showed a marvelous example of service as they worked hard and laughed and smiled the whole time. Check out the video posted separately.
Denny joined in the fun. He's been on Aleve overdose ever since!

Another project we completed this week involved the NGO representing an HIV hospital in Bucharest. The blonde is Mary Veal from the USA. She is a social worker who came here 16 years ago to help with the HIV epidemic and planned to stay 1 year. She fell in love with the children and Romania and she has devoted her life to this cause. The other woman in the picture is Anna, also a social worker and Mary's assistant. They are selecting items to be used in the hospital. This is our first project since arriving here and it was submitted and approved almost immediately.

Many of you have asked how we get around. WE WALK! Mostly! The traffic is horrendous and the drivers are expert. Spokane could never survive 10 minutes without a pileup yet, this scene happens every day without mishap. Pedestrians have to be very alert, and we are! We also ride the subway and busses and tramvai (electric rail). It's all a blast!

Denny JUST HAD to show some wrestling moves to one of the Elders.

Denny's in trouble! Denny gets flipped. . .

. . . and Pinned!

Everyone walks...This was the scene this morning as we walked to church. Actually, this was the last part of the hour-long adventure of riding the bus and subway just to get to church.

This is our largest church building in Bucharest. It is very nice and the equivalent to a Stake Center in America. We had District Conference here today.

If you make the mistake of riding the bus during the evening rush, you endure this. At some stops the doors will open and NOT ONE MORE person can fit in. Pick-pockets love this! We're very careful!

This is the front door to our apartment building. Classy eh?

. . .and this is our door man! He speaks only Romanian and he helps us with pronunciation (and the door!).

This is MY personal doorman. He is showing the 2-person elevator. It's very European!

Don't tell the Mission President but I've opened up my own pastry and chocolate shop!

This is the closest grocery shopping to our apartment...yes, it's Safe Way! Our apartment is in the background. We buy our fruits and vegetables and bread in little shops on the street.

This is a Pomelo. It was not that great!

One of the biggest challenges of living in a foreign country is figuring out what things are and what they're used for. I think we have baking soda, butter, vanilla powder and Puffa Buna? The Nivea Creme looked like great lotion until we rubbed it all over our legs and feet. It was creamy SOAP! (Brings new meaning to "Slip 'n Slide"!)

There's no doubt what these items are! We're going to be fine here!

I can't close this blog without dedicating one last important item to our grandsons in Duvall. (Boys appreciate this kind of thing!)
I was going through some files in the apartment and found this in a manual called "Basic Self-Reliance" pg. 37: (and I am not making this up)

"Warning: Before you take any medicine for worms, you must consider whether you have any roundworms in your body. If you do, you must get rid of them before you take any medicine for tapeworms. The medicine for tapeworms can make the roundworms come out of your mouth and nose. This can make small children choke." YOU THINK?
Coming next week: "Worm descriptions"

Missionaries in Action

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We began our second full week in Romania with visit from our Area Directors from Frankfurt. Now that we can speak Romanian perfectly, we had no problem picking up German. NOT! The couple below are now our good friends, Connie and Joe Durrance! They are actually from Bountiful and are on a mission, just like us except they are big kids and have more responsibilities! They travel all over Europe and train the new humanitarian missionaries and also oversee the projects. We loved our week with them and had a blast. We learned so much that some afternoons we just had to quit before our heads exploded! Now we can:
Write projects on CHAS (a complicated computer program we use get approval for a project)
Keep track of our aid-related expenses on Excel
Cut, paste, scan, attach, make folders, save-as, copy to clipboard, right click, left click, explode!
Oanda (to figure conversion rates)
Meet with NGO's and act like we know what they're talking about
Tour facilities and and act like we know what we're looking at

We are now ready and excited to hit the floor running (or shuffling) come tomorrow morning. We have our week planned (as all good missionaries do) and by the next Blog, we'll let you know of the surprises that are sure to come up! One thing for sure...we love our mission here among the Romanian people and can't think of any place we'd rather be.

Enjoy the pictures of the week.

The Durance's

Our new friends, the Durance's. We had so much fun that even "Denny the map-reader" smiled!
Casa Doru. This is a clinic/hospital/home for HIV teenagers. We toured this facility and decided that it will be our first project. We will supply much needed bedding and towels and other supplies.
The next day we visited an NGO we're working with to bring in wheelchairs. His group designs, manufactures and repairs wheelchairs. With him, we'll be able to supply and fit 250 recipients with the next shipment.
And then we flew to Paris! Not really! Bucharest is called "Paris of the East" because of scenes like this. This is the Arcul de Triumf.

The Tramvai electric street cars have become our friends. This accordion playing Romanian jumped on and played for us for a Leu (about 34 cents). I couldn't get him to smile! (heck, now that I think about it, maybe he would have for a few more Lei!)

This little girl and her grandmother became our friends on the Tramvai. I gave her a pass-along card and she waved as we pulled away.

And then there are the dogs! Roaming dogs are everywhere. There are an estimated 200,000 stray dogs in Bucharest. Luckily they are docile and tame and never sniff in inappropriate places! You just have to watch your step and NEVER step on the grass.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our First Weekend

Our mission to bring Humanitarian aid to the people of Romania is so far, really entertaining! We are learning new things every how to take the north-bound tramvei SOUTH, how to buy things (we actually know more Romanian than we thought), how to sleep in a horn-honking festival, how to sanitize fruits and vegetables, and how to live in a big city. You'd think city life would be exciting on the weekends. We had a blast, missionary style!

We live in this apartment complex, center section, 5th floor. For fun, we watch the traffic and people below. You can't buy this kind of entertainment!

Friday afternoon I started what I lovingly call, "Washer Woman Weekend". Clothes dryer technology has not yet hit Romania. This process took all weekend! No party tonight at the Linerud's!

Saturday morning at the Piata. Luckily, our tutor, Christina taught us all the names for these things. Now, to remember them! These people speak NO English!

Saturday evening we watched Conference in this Mihai Bravu Chapel. This is the building where we'll be attending church every Sunday.

Here we are with another missionary couple and a new convert.

Whenever missionaries get together, all the cameras come out. What a great bunch!

We love our mission and we're excited about the work we have to do. Our Area Directors will spend a week with us and then we'll confident about everything. Right! We get up excited every day! The language is coming! Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Today was "Visa Day"! The office Elders took us all over Bucharest to jump through government hoops so we can be legal residents. We had physicals which consisted of taking our temperature (Armpit...are you kidding me?) and pressing on our foreheads (sinus problems?) and tapping our knees (reflexes?). The good news is we're in perfect health! Next stop, a bank where the Elders stood in an hour-long line to pay our visa taxes. The last, and final stop was the police station where the line was short and the wait was, and I'm not making this up, 3 hours! We stood there the whole time and had a great conversation with the Elders! We even gave out a Pass-along card to the woman in back of us! Pages of documents were presented and looked over by a very official person. Questions were asked in Romanian (thankfully the Elders are standing by) and finally, a photo was taken. That was the hardest part. Just try to look into a camera and not smile! She looked annoyed when she had to retake it! The "take a number" technology has not made it to Romania! I'll never complain about the DMV again!

The line!

Block houses. This is our view as we sit at our dining room table. We live in one of these.

Great Romanian architecture! This is a bank.

A great restaurant ("probably the best in town").

The pastries and breads are fabulous!

You're probably wondering if this is a sightseeing mission. No! We are busy looking over past projects and getting our feet on the ground. Our trainer from Frankfurt will be here on Sunday for 4 days. We have until then to find our way around. Then, the REAL fun begins!