Monday, May 25, 2015

Going to Galati

Hey guys,

This week was a blast. On Monday, we went to a Monastery called "Churci". We went with some friends and they drove us down there. All the pictures are on a different SD card then I have right now, but one of our friends sent us some pictures that he took. 

We continue to see people we know just roaming the streets everyday and that's always fun. We taught some English and taught some spiritual lessons and had some fun. Things here in Orhei are just beginning to start going. Then I found out that I'm leaving to go back to Romania, and to Galati to be a Zone Leader there. That caught me way off guard as I was expecting to stay with my companion until he goes home and stay in Orhei. I was a little nervous and sad to leave, but I said goodbye to everyone Sunday night and got on the train down to Bucharest. I just arrived in Bucharest this morning around 6:30 and will be going to go to Galati this Wednesday.

Saying Goodbye to everyone was hard because I really loved the people there. Someone was even nice enough to drive us down to the train station from Orhei to Chisinau. It was a great experience there, but I know that the Lord wants me in Galati now, so I'm going to go there and try my best. 

Elder Temus saying goodbye
Thanks everyone for all your support and you all are awesome. I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Elder Houk

Monday, May 18, 2015

A New Goal

Hey Guys,

This week we found 5 new friends who want to learn about how they can become closer to Christ through God's plan for us! And that's pretty cool. 

We also made a huge chalk drawing in the middle of town, and got some pretty sweet publicity from it. We are gettin to know the town here little by little and they to us as well. 

Smoking break in a block, reading some CLM. haha
We had an exchange with the zone leaders and so Elder Temus and I were split up from each other for a day with another missionary. (I was with my son, Elder Bateman. He's a great missionary) All day, people were asking me where Elder Temus was and Elder Temus said that people were asking him where I was. Is Houk sick? Is Temus is Chisinau? haha. Such nice people here. 

Church was great yesterday. Some friends and members from Chisinau came down to Orhei and we showed them around the town. Didn't take too long. haha "Here's the main street, the stop light and we just passed one of the four restaurants." haha Just kidding, it's not THAT small, I mean it has a grocery store too. How I like to explain it is "It's small, but good!" (I have to admit, its not the catchiest phrase in the world)

Things are going great though here, I'm just having a blast. A goal of mine right now is to read the whole Book of Mormon in Romanian, and I'm on my way. 1 Nefi (<-that's Romanian) ch 17 is my current place. Let's see who finishes first if you start in English! 

Alright, well I hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

Elder Houk

My accent needs some work, lol.

Just writing "Free English" in the center of Orhei.

Yo check me out in some glasses that I didn''t buy. haha #P-Dayshoppin #selfie #whyamiusingahashtag

Hahahahaha Its NAB instead of NBA.  That's Moldova for you haha.
Watching the Game. Orhei killed the other team, 5 - 0
This looks like a normal picture, until you see the DOOR in the upper right hand corner. It's a 4th floor door with a handle and everything.

I think this is a Catholic Church.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hey Sportsman

Hey Guys,

Skyping with our favorite Elder
This week was great! Got to talk to my family which is always the best!! Happy Mother's Day to all those mothers out there! 

This week, we were pretty much in the church all week teaching personal English lessons to everyone! haha We are inviting everyone we teach to learn more about how they can grow closer to God and almost everyone so far has accepted. We have a really cool English student/investigator right now as well. He has accepted a soft baptismal date which essentially means that when he comes to the knowledge that these things are true, he will be baptized. 

We have been eating at a place called Dolce Vita which is a restaurant in between the church and our apt. So lets just say, we know our way around the menu without needing to read it haha. 
Looking over Orhei
Here we've had some people, a couple different times, almost force us to drink wine. It's actually pretty funny with what they come up with. One guy was like come and have some wine! -Oh no thanks we don't drink. No, no, you aren't drinking wine, just tasting it! Look! (pouring a full glass full of wine) I'm just tasting! Just a taste! haha  At one of these occasions I was holding a book of Mormon in my hand. After telling me to drink his homemade wine, he stopped and asked me what book I was holding. I gave him a brief explanation of what it was. He said "What makes you different from all the other Christian churches, heh?" I explained how we have a prophet in these latter days to lead and guide us, as in the old times. He asked for the book and I made an offer to have a meeting with him another time to explain and talk more about it. He actually agreed and he gave us his phone number. We see this man almost everyday, as well as when we go running on the track by our house. He always calls out to us, "Hey Sportsman!" He's a cool guy. Oh and if you're wondering, don't worry, it was just a taste. ;) 

Thank you to everyone and I hope you all have a great week! 

Love ya,
Elder Houk
"Hi Houk" written in Russian from Cluj branch

Monday, May 4, 2015

Safety and Peace

Hey Guys,

Yesterday I bore my testimony and I shared a story about when I was younger. I would be scared in the middle of the night of robbers or kid-nappers or people like that and I would go to my parents room and sleep on the floor or with them. I don't remember the exact age I was when this happened, but one night I was scared once again, but this time I decided to try something different than going into my parent's room. I decided that I would pray for my safety and to feel peace. After I prayed, I actually felt better. I felt that safety and peace. I felt as though, even if something were to happen, that it would be okay because God was watching over me. I knew that I felt the spirit of God with me that night comforting me through it all. To this day, I still pray for this safety and peace at night and I always feel the same peaceful reminder that I will be okay and that God, my father, really does love me. And because of his love for me I know that he is there and that he is watching over me. And I know that he doesn't just love me but all of us here and that is why I am so grateful to be here and to share this message. That God is there. That he wants to help you. To talk to you. To comfort you. 

I love all you guys and wish you a great week.

Elder Houk

Today the boys hiked to Orheiul Vechi
Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex
"Ten kilometers to the southeast of Orhei city lies Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei; marked on maps as the village of Trebujeni).
This is arguably Moldova’s most fantastic sight. The chimerical Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex is carved into a massive limestone cliff in this wild, rocky, remote spot. Getting here ain’t easy (forget about public transportation), but it’s well worth the effort. The Cave Monastery (Manastire in Pestera), inside a cliff overlooking the modest Raut River, was dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century. It remained inhabited until the 18th century, and in 1996 a handful of monks returned and began restoring it.
Shorts are forbidden and women must cover their heads inside the monastery. A small, moody chapel is part of the complex, which acts as a church for three neighboring villages, as it did in the 13th century. Adjacent is the area where up to 13 monks lived for decades at a time, sleeping on pure bedrock in tiny stone nooks (chilii), opening into a central corridor. There’s also a stone terrace, from where views of the entire cliff and surrounding plains are nothing less than breathtaking.
The cliff face is dotted with additional caves and places of worship, dug over the millennia by Geto-Dacian tribes from before Christ’s time. In all, the huge cliff contains six complexes of interlocking caves, most of which are accessible only by experienced rock climbers and therefore off-limits to most tourists.
After WWII archaeologists started uncovering several layers of history in this region, including a fortress built in the 14th century by Stefan cel Mare, later destroyed by Tartars, and the remnants of a defense wall surrounding the monastery complex from the 15th century. Some of their finds are on exhibit in Chisinau’s National History Museum.
In the 18th century the cave-church was taken over by villagers from neighboring Butuceni. In 1905 they built an additional church above ground dedicated to the Ascension of St Mary. This church was shut down by the Soviets in 1944 and remained abandoned throughout the Communist regime. Services resumed in 1996."

"The chimerical Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex is carved into a massive limestone cliff in this wild, rocky, remote spot."

"...up to 13 monks lived for decades at a time, sleeping on pure bedrock in tiny stone nooks (chilii), opening into a central corridor."

The Cave Monastery (Manastire in Pestera), inside a cliff overlooking the modest Raut River, was dug by Orthodox monks in the 13th century.