Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mihai and Ocidiu Ciocan

Salutari - Regards!

Let’s start with the Top 20 reasons why I love Romania.  These do not follow any particular order and I have left many things/people out, but that does not make them less important. 

1. Sarmale - Traditional food
2. Oradea - City near Hungary . . . served there for 4 months
3. Bucuresti - Ugly, but I fell in love with it this summer
4. Geambasu Family - Members in Oradea
5. Mihai Zgarburi - Investigator in Chisinau
6. Clatite - Traditional food like crepes
7. Gombots - Hungarian food, but still delicious
8. Kurtos Kalacs - Hungarian pastry, but still delicious
9. La Tara - Romanian country side . . . incredible rolling hills . . . green
10. Language - A true Romanian sings, doesn’t speak. . .drunks are just as amusing
11. Bread - The best on planet
12. Hospitality - You can’t go into a Romanians home and walk out hungry or thirsty
13. Covali Family - Members in Chisinau
14. The Musat Family - Members in Ploiesti
15. Superstitions - Romanians will avoid any kind of draft through the air which could cause many different illnesses, tooth aches or even back pain
16. Architecture - See Piata Sfatului in Brasov
17. Sacrament Meetings – It’s all good to yell from the congregation with your opinion
18. Lack of Sensitivity - See funeral story from a month ago
19. Lack of Personal Space - I can’t tell you how many forehead kisses I've received from old men
20. Colloquial Speech - So many examples, but one could be that EVERYONE is considered "mami" / Mother

I’ve sat through many homecomings and heard missionaries tell us how Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Australia, North Dakota . . . are the best places on planet earth. How the best and most kind people on earth are found where they served their missions. In all honesty I thought they were just pretending like they had the best mission.  But I understand now though. Romania is the best place on earth and it has the best population. These stinky, superstitious, Eastern Orthodox, blunt, stubborn people with horrible dental health have become my favorite people. I don’t know how and I don’t know when I realized that, but just like everyone else it has happened to me. 

I’m sure at the end of my mission everyone expects me to blow them away with all the stuff that I’ve learned and experienced.  That my final email should have all these life lessons and stories. I don’t really have too much to say.  I hope that I haven’t changed who I am. In reality, I have learned way more than I had expected. I appreciate family, home, people and their stories much more. I appreciate culture and language.  I have learned more about the church and its teachings in these two years than I ever learned in the 12 years since being baptized. I understand the importance of daily service. I had no idea what I was getting myself into 36 months ago when I decided to do this. It was absolutely 100% different than I expected it to be. The principles and experiences I’ve had have changed my outlook and my habits, but don’t be surprised when you see the same long haired kid who slept on the couch in his underwear.

This week was good. I’m enjoying the little things and trying my best to milk it for every moment. 

I love you guys,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stuff You Don't Get to Read - From Elder Brown to His Mother - Two Weeks To Go!

Hoping Keegan doesn't mind me posting this . . .

"I'm ready to see my family and friends, to eat the foods I've missed and sleep in a familiar bed.  

But I wish I could stay. This country is incredible.  I've met the most humble and amazing people.  I've made friends and have become comfortable with the most insane culture on planet Earth.  I can't think of waking up, walking outside and not hearing Romanian being spoken.

I'm happy, tired, nervous, excited, anxious, stressed, loving the moment . . . 

I don't know what else to say."
Rasnov, Romania
The Citadel

Băăăiii mai ai două săptămîni - I Still Have Two Weeks!

Hello good people...

Happy Birthday David!
Go Utes! BYU?

I've had a good week here in Brasov.  Fall came around and I had to break out the cold weather clothes that I thought I'd never touch again.  We had some members just get back from the temple and they had a good experience.  Elder Brown talked with this guy on the bench the other day and it turned into one of the funniest conversations I've ever had in Romanian.  This guy has family in the U.S. and talked about all the crap going on, then about Romania and we learned a few new Romanian curse words.  I would've left but he was the only guy on the road.

The members here are dope.  We have this big guy named Stefan Croitoru who is about 6'5 230 and picks me up everytime I walk into the church.  This guy is the former Branch President, is a little rough around the edges, but we seem to get a long pretty well.  I'll have to get a picture with him for you guys next week.

I should be telling you about all the lessons I've learned and all the great experiences that I've had, but honestly I'm in denial about this whole coming home thing. . . maybe next week!

I love you guys! I'm having fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Best Skype I Can Do for Lucy!
Elder Brown's Dancing Partner

Happy Birthday Lou!

Sounds like fun at home . . . birthdays, football, construction and celebration cupcakes! 

We took a trip down to Ploiesti this week for an exchange of Zone Leaders. It was fun to be there and see all the stuff I barely remember. It’s weird how easily you forget stuff and how you can forget people. I was also able to see a few members and spend some time at the chapel. 

It’s been fun training a new missionary . . . Romanian quotes of the week:

Said: We are beginners here for free!
Intended: We are teachers here of English for free!

Said: Bless us with baptizers!
Intended: Bless us with baptisms!

Plus, he was dragged into a traditional Romanian dance with a nice young lady who said "you can’t turn down a girl!"  I was laughing and trying to get my camera out, then I told him I was going to call President and rat him out - It was great! 

Emotions are high.  I don’t know what to think about time.  It’s sad, but I’m trying to have fun as I go.

I love you guys and miss you!

This picture is for the birthday girl Lucy who wanted to skype with me - too tempting!
Elder Brown’s dancing partner is in there somewhere.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Old Man Now!
Bran Castle

Ultimul Meu Transfer – My Last Transfer

We have only six weeks left and one transfer.  Pretty crazy how time flies but only Mom is the one that'd argue. 

We had a mission conference this week.  The mission hasn’t had one for like seven years or so, because our mission is super spread out.  A lot of people had to come in from 14/15 hours away.  I only had a 20 minute bus ride down the street. J

Monday we arrived in a neighboring city called Busteni.  There, we went on a hike and it poured on us. Then we went back to the hotel to get ready for a super dope dinner at a castle. The Ivory's hooked me and 14 other people up with a view of the mountains just outside the castle because we are all going home soon.  We crashed back at the hotel and had a mission conference the next day.  They are putting a big push on the Book of Mormon; they sent you guys an email to get you in on it.  Then we visited the Bran Castle. 

That was the biggest event of the week.  Not too much else going on here. I’m sticking it out here in Brasov for my last transfer, which isn’t a disappointment at all.  We’re now in a much better apartment and are no longer living as four people in one place. That’s a luxury I haven’t had for about eight months! 

Sorry about the boring email, but I love you guys and hope you’re having fun! 


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brasov Boys
Reaching the Top!

Inmormantare si Urcare – Funeral & Climb

Well, this week brought some big changes.  Elder Slater Brown from Dallas Texas came into Brasov from Galati this week.  He is a tall kid and played some football in school.  He’s been in Romania about a month and speaks much better than he should.  We are now four elders living in this tiny apartment.  Three of us have beds, but Elder Brown sleeps on the couch.  No AC, no oven, no shower curtain but a lot of food.  We did some flex’n last night as well as leg wrestling, stick pull, and arm wrestling.  We had to get some stress out, but it’s more fun to have four elders in an apartment.  I also had 2.5 hours of conference calls last night, which was . . . 

Just a heads up, there will likely be no emails next Monday.  While I was in the office, President planned a mission conference.  It will happen in a neighboring city to Brasov, named Busteni.  It’s known for its giant mountains and great hikes.  We will be there on Monday and Tuesday and have two devotionals/conferences, visit two castles and go on a hike or two. There will also be a sick dinner held in a castle with all 130 of us, just like some medieval movie.  I will take a lot of photos considering it will be my goodbye to most of the missionaries.  E-mails will come to you on Wednesday. 

This week we attended the funeral of one of our members. Two weeks ago she had a stroke and was taken out of the hospital (Romanian health care system) and put into her home.  On her death bed, we went and gave her a blessing.  She was so grateful for us and it brought her non-member care taker to tears.  I knew she was better-off passing on.  I got a call a week later letting me know that she had passed away.  They don’t embalm people here so her funeral followed pretty quickly.  The family is orthodox, but they knew she wanted a Mormon funeral.  There were two talks on the Plan of Salvation, and the Savior.  Orthodox tradition says that after the ceremony, the funeral procession is led by a priest, holding a cross with the deceased name.  The family just kind’a left the cross in our hands and we didn’t know what to do.  The Branch President thought it should be my job – haha, so they gave me the cross and I just awkwardly walked along with everyone.  We get to the site and the hole was poorly dug.   We Dedicated the Grave and the graveyard staff was ready to put her in. When they lowered her halfway down the hole (4 feet deep MAX) they realized that it’s about eight inches too short!  They clumsily pull the coffin out and set in in the dirt next to the site. Then the homie jumps into the hole and starts digging more.  They try to put her into the hole again and one of the workers has his phone fall out and under the coffin.  So again, they pull her out of the hole and set her aside as they go back-in and fish out the phone, slightly covered with dirt.  Now at this point the family and some members were making jokes - "she always wanted a smartphone" . . . "she never really did have good experiences with answering or using the phone."   What may seem insensitive to us, is everyday speech for them!  That’s why I love Romanians - BLUNT!  For the third time, they try to "dump" her in (for lack of a better word) and they got her in nice and snug . . . AND SIDEWAYS!   They called it good and started burying her.  This is the most cultural and Romanian experience I have had in the past year!  The family treated us to some juice and rum flavored pastries and we were on our way. 

Nothing else too crazy going on.  We hiked again today and I think I might sleep for eternity.  Hopefully, I’m getting sun.

I love and miss you guys,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chees'n It!


Brasov Re-Org

Hey folks! 

Good week . . . cooled down a bit, but still is pretty warm. 

Our Branch President has his niece staying with him and last Monday she decided to get baptized before she goes back to her parent’s house near Constanta!   She didn’t really give the sisters too much time to work with, but they taught her everything and talked with president to make sure it was cool to get baptized within one week’s time.  On Friday, I had to give her a baptismal interview (weird) and she was baptized by the Branch President on Saturday.  It was cool to see back to back baptisms the last two weeks and the first time I have seen that on my mission.  The branch is excited to have new people and to participate in baptisms.  Her name is Andreea Gorgiana.  I dont have any pictures unfortunately, but it was cool. 

We've been doing our thing and teaching who we can.  President called yesterday though and had some big news for us.  Brasov is a 6 missionary district (4 sisters & 2 elders) but he is going to split me and Elder Swafford as of this Friday.  We will both be receiving new comps and remain here in Brasov.  Elder Brown is coming to me (not a joke - we also have two Sister Armstrongs together in Constanta) and Elder Erickson is coming to be with Swafford.  Nothing big happened,  just a few changes in the mission and it made sense to make this change.  Kinda bummed I was only with Swafford for a month but we will live together at least for the next two weeks.  My new guy is fresh in the mission. He has been here four weeks so I will train him until I’m done in September. President is just making sure I stay obedient - haha! 

I’m doing good, having fun, learning new things and trying not to think about you guys too much.  Also, making great food! 

Happy Birthday to our girl Pippa!  Wish I could be there. 

Boring emails but I’ll get this figured out by next week.  

Love ‘ya

Conferinta si Sapte Scari – Conference and Seven Stairs

Hey guys... It’s hot! 

This week was quick and eventful.  We had zone conference here in Brasov and it went well.  I didn’t have to do anything and it was nice to sit back and enjoy a meeting.  Elder Swafford and I were in charge of lunch though and fed 30 people.  We went lazy and just had sandwiches.  The conference topic was teaching the restoration better and other stuff. 

We've been doing good, but it’s slowing down.  Everyone in Brasov, this time of year, are tourists.  We have some people he were teaching but a lot are now gone. We're gonna start doing some street boarding here this week and it should be good as long as we don’t get in trouble with the cops.

Today we hiked Sapte Scari which is translated as seven ladders.  It’s a pretty sick hike through a slot canyon and has seven ladders that get you up to the top. We had a good time and took some good photos. 

I heard that dad’s birthday was good. Looks like I missed out on a good one!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Two Bros from Brasov - Swafford

Brasovul e frumos – Brasov is Hot!

Good day peeps . . . 

I’m here in Brasov for week two . . . It’s great!  The branch is pretty sick and there will be an 8 year old baptism next week.  Church attendance hit  62 Sunday which is the highest it’s been in years, but there were about 20 people there as visitors so we think 42 is a more realistic number.  President was there with a family friend of his and then there was another family from Switzerland and a ton of other people. 

It’s getting really hot around here. . . unusually hot for this area of the country and we don’t have AC. Today is 94 degrees and we were invited to do some service for a YSA girl.  She needed her refrigerator moved from one building to another, about 200 yards away.  She picked the two skinniest missionaries in the mission, but we got it done!  Of course she lived on the 3rd floor.

There’s nothing too big going on, just trying not to think about time too much.  Home is coming-up quick on us and I just wanna have fun and get stuff done here! 

I love and miss you guys - Have fun! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Patru Julie - Happy Fourth of July Good People!

My week has been off the wall. 

Tuesday morning at 2:30 p.m., I’m awakened by the elder who sleeps above me (Elder Evans).  He got down from the bunk bed and went to the bathroom.  I knew something was up so I went to check on him and when he came out he was shaking like crazy; shivering to death!  I honestly thought he was going to die.  We sat him down and tried to take his temperature.  Our thermometer wasn’t working, but by my hand I could tell he was burning up.  After a blessing, I sat and tried to convince him to go to the hospital but he refused.  He stopped shaking, but then began to throw up. 

He stayed in bed the next day, but then my comp got kinda sick too!  We took Evans to the hospital Tuesday night at about 8:00 p.m. and remained there till about 10:00.  We then had the missionaries who finished their missions at our place and were up Wednesday morning at 3:30 a.m. to take them to the airport.  At 8:00 Wednesday morning, we knew that my comp had the same illness.  We didn’t take him to the hospital thinking it was the same thing as Evans (food poisoning). But when they both didn’t recover, I took my comp to the hospital. 

Wednesday at 7 p.m. we went to the hospital.  I sat four straight hours in the waiting room and he finally came out - Parasites!  My comp has a big ol' worm in him.

The two sicko’s chilled together sick for most of the weekend and I then went out with the other Elder Brown, as he is the only healthy one around me! 

We also had zone conference on Friday, office staff meeting, an open house on Saturday and two showings of Meet the Mormons. 

Today we celebrated the fourth of July.  My comp felt well enough to come out for a while.  We had soccer, volleyball frisbee, barbeque, watermelon eating contests and other games! I had a stellar time and got to run around. 

This next week we get ready for transfers and meet with President to figure all that crap out. I find out where I’m going to serve my last two transfers and hopefully have some input. 

Sounds like you guys are boring as freak back home, but I wish I could be with you all for the fourth!  Go do something fun and then send me some pics for next week! 

I love and miss you all! 
4th of July - Eagle Socks!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Schimb de Experienta - Exchange of Experience

Solid week Ladies and Gents!

Coming down to the end, I wonder how annoying and repetitive these emails have become for you. 

I had the opportunity to be President’s companion for a day!  I was pretty nervous at first, but once we got through airport security and on the morning flight everything was a little bit smoother.  We had zone training in Cluj and he didn’t think it was necessary to take both me and my companion.  It was fun!   The flight back was incredible because we talked about his relationships with the Apostles and how he knows all of them so well.  Then we talked college football and his life at the U.  He told me about his time at Harvard Business School and he asked me . . . "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  We had some fun and then talked about some mission things.  He then asked me where I wanted to end my mission and I had no idea what to say - It was nuts!  He’s basically letting me decide (pressure)!  He had some nice things to say and I was appreciative of the hours we spent together. 

So back to the conference . . . I taught something that he’s been preaching for the last few weeks.  President was busy doing interviews so I covered for him.  It’s a cool little concept, kind of hard to put into an email, but when you boil it down it goes as follows . . . 

Your life progresses at a decent speed as long as you continue to learn, but the moment you try to teach and serve, your life begins to maximize itself.  Unselfish service and hard work will ultimately lead to you learning more, and at a quicker rate.  The smallest changes can make all the difference.  It only takes 2 degrees or 2 percent to make lasting differences. Example: 

In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km)to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen land scape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).

As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.

It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.

Through years of serving the Lord and in countless interviews, I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees. - a matter of a few degrees (Uchtdorf - General Conference, April 2008)

President also shared a story about compound interest and a change of only 2 percent in interest rates . . .  Ultimately, the difference between 5 percent and 7 percent, compounded over 44 years, results in more than double the income ($10,000 = $90,000 @ 5% or $215,000 @ 7%).  Life isn’t about the big changes, but small incremental changes over time. 

As for homecomings, I’m hearing guys my age getting home from their missions and the girls my age are getting married!  I can’t keep up with all that’s going on, but its nuts.  A BIG WELCOME HOME and KILLER JOB to Doug Hintze!  I understand he comes home this week so let him know I miss him.  Let me know who else is getting home . . . Talon Hatch should be soon, then Blair next month and others. 

Remember me? Check out these pics! 

Love you all!
Hanson Brother - Slap Shot

Bunny Ears?!?!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mai Raman Patru Luni – Four Months to Go!

Good Day Ladies and Gents, 

Welcome June.  It’s sunny in Bucuresti and I’m extremely excited to spend another beautiful summer covering my limbs with slacks, shirts and ties; enjoying the warm sun and sweaty Romanians.  It’s a shame we can’t wear shorts out here. 

This week was incredible!  So much crap went down and we had so much to do. 

Monday was prep day. 

Tuesday we got the new missionaries in and I trained them alone with President Ivory while Elder Allphin trained the trainers.  The new guys are both out of the military.  One went to Georgetown and the other was accepted to Princeton. . . . So, I was feeling pretty stellar with my one class background at on-line SLCC!   I’m so edumaceted!  We also went on a 3 mile run that day which my body immediately reminded me that it’s not used to such exercise. 

Wednesday started with another run, but luckily we had worn President out a little bit so it went a little slower.  We did some more training with all the new people.  Tuesday and Wednesday had a combined total of around 13-15 hours in meetings.  I fell asleep in one of the last meetings while president was talking and I was supposed to be conducting the meeting . . . it went great! 

This weekend we had District Conference here in Bucuresti with a guest from the Area 70.  Elder Reina from Spain was the visitor.  I had the privilege (working on positivity) of translating for him.  Now he spoke in Spanish, which was then translated into Romanian, and I then translated into English for those who don’t speak Romanian.  It may or may or may not have been the same talk that he was giving, but I think it turned out okay.  I really hate translating, but it helps my Romanian a lot.  We also had the movie premiere of Meet the Mormons here in Bucuresti.  Romanian is one of three European languages that it was translated to, which is a big deal given we have such small numbers in comparison to other countries.  We filled an entire theater with 300 people plus and over 75 of those were investigators.  It was translated really well considering the District President here is a former actor.  His name is Alin Constantinescu and was in films like Anaconda 3. He got a team of non-member voice actors and paid them to translate and be the voices for the actors.  They did a killer job! 

I’m having fun, recovering from a head cold . . . eating lots of fast food . . . enjoying the sun. 

Sorry, I forgot my card reader so no pictures for today!  

I love and miss you guys,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5:00 PM Traffic
Road Trip

Hey People!

My week was pretty jam packed so I’ll take you through it quickly:

Mon - Normal
Tue - Met with President all day
Wed - Prepare for trip
Thu - Office staff meeting, to Sibiu (4 hour drive)
Fri - Half day exchange in Sibiu, to Oradea (5 hour Drive)
Sat - Zone Conference, District Conference (Elder Adler of the 70 attending)
Sun - District Conference, cont. Drive home (8 hours) through Cluj, Sighisoara, Brasov

The drive was insane!  We had a lot of fun, took a ton of photos and ate a lot of snacks.  Sora Ivory packed us super tight with food, candy, fruits, veggies and all kinds of stuff for the drive!  Seriously, I couldn’t have eaten everything that she had given us and she is the shiz!

Romania could be the most beautiful country on planet earth.  If anyone has seen Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, all the beautiful rolling green hills and huge mountain ranges look just like Romania.  We often had to stop and wait for cows to get off the road.  We stopped and admired the Gypsy mansions which are colorful and giant.  We also took a break in a town of 200 people and I talked with an old woman for 30 minutes about living in the middle of Romania.  She had the thickest countryside accent and I could barely understand her!  We also saw about 400 sheep with all bearded gypsy herders.  It was incredible!  It cannot be correctly explained through words or photographs, but I tried my best. 

Conference was great. The visiting authority was about 6’4”, had a super deep voice and a mild German accent. He talked about how through love and softened hearts, we as missionaries can spread the message more easily. I again presented on ‘Extending Commitment Invites’ and ‘Setting Expectations.’ 

Being in Oradea was the best thing on planet earth . . . IT IS THE BEST CITY IN THE MISSION!  I was surprised that all the members remembered me and about half even remembered my name.  I spent most my time talking with them.  I could've spent the rest of my mission there and if I have any say in where I am going at the end of my mission, I will make it very clear to President that I want to be in ORADEA! 

This week will be high stress because we gotta plan and get ready for the following week, which will be transfers.  We need to plan for the incoming, outgoing, trainer and all other missionaries who will be moving over the course of three days.  This includes setting-up all types of training meetings, interviews with President, meals, activities to keep them busy, and doing some morning runs with president which as you all know is my favorite a.m. activity. 

I love you all.... Keep it real!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cinco de Mayo
Road Trip - Sibiu

Trimit un Mesaj Oamenilor Mei - A message to my peeps!

I was stoked to talk to talk with you on skype this week!  The kids are huge and fun!  I can't believe how happy Pippa is all the time. 

We had MLC this week so everyone was here in Bucuresti for a day.  Usually it's me getting on a flight at 3:00 a.m. and not getting back in bed until after midnight the next day.  Luckily I only had to conduct this time and Elder Allphin presented with the Ivorys.  It went pretty well and President subliminally made fun of me for taking so many pottery classes in high school.  Elder Allphin gave a presentation about quality versus quantity and used a ceramics example and had me share a story about how frustrating it can be sometimes.  President was joking and laughing pretty hard, saying that all I do in the office is throw pots on the wheel.  It's fun seeing him lighten up slightly and he laughs more nowadays. 

Yesterday, we had this guy at church named Jude.  We received his number as a referral from some other missionaries and invited him to church.  He is here studying business and is originally from Nigeria. He’s a super humble dude and seemed to have a good time.  He has a few buddies back at the dorms and we are gonna get in and be friends with all the foreign peeps here in Buc. 

This week we get to drive all the way up to Oradea which is a nine hour trip, so we’ll break it up into two days and stay with the elders in Sibiu for a night.  I will be in Oradea again for two or three days, which will be fun, and I'm gonna try and meet up with a few of the people that I used to teach and know.  Oradea is still my favorite city in the mission.  Hopefully when we are driving back on Monday the week later we will have time to email.  I think we might be able to do some site seeing because it will be P-day.  On our way back we pass a few castles including Draculas and then some historic cities and other dope touristic sites.  It would be incredible if we could do something on our way back, but we’ll see.

Nothing too new lately . . . I took my suits to the dry cleaner so today will be pretty normal.  We will try and play some sports if we have time and get some food too.  I love you guys and we will see each other soon! 

Love you,

Here is a picture of me on Cinco de Mayo at the only Mexican place around here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Service in Buch!
Two Cool Cats!

Zuia Mamei si Numai o Saptamana - Mother's Day In Just One Week!

Well, I don’t think anyone is as excited as mom is, but we will be talking sometime this week!   Kind’a weird to think that it will be the last phone visit before we all see each other again.  As mom reminds me weekly, we are sitting at about 4 months and 3 weeks. 

This week we had two zone conferences, one in Bucuresti and the other in Chisinau.  We flew to Chisinau Thursday night and arrived around 11:30 p.m.!  Our meeting started at 10:00 a.m. the next day and went for about 7 hours.  We stayed another day to do an exchange and I met with Mihai Zgarburi and a few other people to catch up - it was fun!  Everyone there is freaking incredible and Moldova looks a lot better with green!  When I left it was all covered in mud and trees were still dead, but now its green and looks great. 

We were able to go do some yard work for a member here in Buc and chopped some wood.  It busted my back up for a few days ‘cause I think my form was a little shot, but it was fun to get some service in.  She fed us afterwards, which was incredible as usual, and I played with her kittens.  Her name is Sora Albu and she worked construction as the head person on the job.  She is hilarious and always telling good stories. 

I love and miss y'alls! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Casa Poporului
Elder Allphin (Photo Bomb)

Casa Poporului - People’s Palace

Hey guys . . . I’m alive! 

Sorry for not emailing you yesterday.  We had a big Zone Conference and that took up all my time.  P-Day was today and we had some fun. 

We visited Casa Poporului which is known in English as the People’s Palace.  Romania was under a pretty tough communist regime during most of the 20th century and in the late 80's there was a guy named Nicolae Ceausescu.  He was pretty rough on the people and ended up being executed along with his wife!  Well he took all this cash from the people and built an insane palace in the middle of Bucuresti. It’s the second largest building in the world behind the Pentagon.  We took a tour and I have some pictures (attached).  

As I mentioned, yesterday was the big Zone Conference and it was insane.  I was in charge of the agenda and I think it changed about four times before the conference; President kept adding and taking out stuff.  We were flying by the seat of our pants and it was pretty insane.  President flew in some of his good friends from Utah and they spoke.  Brother Burbage shared a pretty cool message for success.  He is President Ivory's concrete contractor and a pretty successful dude.  When people ask him "what do I need to do to be successful" - he responds - "what do you do, when you don’t have anything to do?" 

President Ivory, furthered the message with: D&C 58: 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.  It was a good meeting and I learned some good things. 

I’m now serving with a cool kid from Alpine Utah named Jantzen Allphin.  He played for the Lone Peak basketball team and has four state championship rings as well as a national championship.  But he is the most humble kid I have met and it will be fun to be with him.

Romania is warming-up and the weather is killer.  I’m stoked for summer and warm weather!  Time is going to fly when we get to summer so don’t stress Mom, I’m doing well and having a good time. 

Love you guys . . . hope all is well!