Mormon Mission World

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autumn, Our Favorite Time of Year!

   This weekend it was time for our clocks to ‘fall’ back; so autumn must have arrived.  Summer was slow to cool down.  Even in October we were experiencing temperatures in the 80’s.  Recently the nighttime temperatures abruptly dropped to the 30’and 40’s.  

During the day it has still been quite pleasant with temps in the low 70’s and high 60’s.  Now our trees are losing their leaves which are now covering the streets with yellow and brown leaves that crunch under your feet as you walk. 
 At least in the city, we are not seeing the vibrant colors that might be observed in New England; guess the trees are just not the right types.  But as the branches become bare it seems very much like fall. Horse Chestnuts litter the ground as well.  I doubt that we have seen so many since we were children. And as the temperatures drop we are anxiously waiting for our building to         turn on the heat.

 There was a notice in the paper that the central heat plant would provide heat to the city on Monday (today.)  However, each building has to turn something on to access it.  So far we still have cold radiators.  Luckily we have a small space heater to keep us warm until then.

 We are amazed at how quickly our first year has passed.  At this time in 2011 we were making our final preparations to enter the MTC to begin our missionary service.  Although time is passing as quickly as ever, we are enjoying this phase of less pressure and stress.  On Sunday evening instead of feeling sad that the weekend is coming to an end, we are excited at the prospect of getting back to the office in the morning. Missionary service brings more meaning to the scripture, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”  

We are enjoying this season of service; whether the trees are green, yellow, or totally bare it is just the right season!

Love Elder & Sister Segeberg

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're Cooking

Dear Friends and Family

Last week four new missionaries arrived in our mission after a two month delay caused by visa issues. During this delay they served in New York.  I am not sure who was more excited that they were here; us or them! It is a pretty close call! Now that they have arrived in the mission to which they were originally called we all feel that the journey is finally beginning. 

While in NY they were able to practice the concepts and skills that they were taught as they prepared; but they never felt that they were at home. Once they arrived here they instantly felt part of our family.  The Mission President and his wife escorted them to their new area where they are excited to begin their service. Many opportunities are in store I am sure.

Making my signature dish "Chicken Cacciatore"
This week we are saying ‘good bye’ to some young men who have served diligently for two years.  Although some of them are reluctant to leave, a new phase of their life is waiting at home.  We will be sad to see them go as well but we know that open arms are waiting for them on the other side of the ocean.

We prepared a Farewell Dinner for our dear departing Elders.

 We are also having seven more new missionaries this week. So the hole in our hearts left on Tuesday will be filled once again on Wednesday.
Everything she makes get rave reviews
 Arrivals and departures are very much a part of the mission experience. It has been nearly a year since our arrival in Eastern Europe.  What an adventure it has been!  We are excited to see what the next year has in store.  I am sure there will be many more sweet missionaries to meet and just as many that will leave.

 I am so glad for their excitement as they arrive and just as happy for their sorrow when they leave.  It means that they served well and love the people that they served. They have touched the lives of many offering hope and their own lives have been touched as well.

Table set and ready
 Someone once asked, “Although it seems to work, why do you entrust the responsibility of spreading the message of your religion to such inexperienced young men and women?”  The answer may simply be, “Because it works.”  As they stretch themselves to reach others with their message they are strengthened. What better way is there to strengthen the young people than during this intense time of studying, learning and teaching?  We are thrilled to be part of this wonderful effort.

Elder and Sister Segeberg

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trip tp Plovdiv

On Saturday we took a trip to Plovdiv which is one of Europe’s oldest continually inhabited cities.  The journey there was beautiful as the hills are gradually changing from lush green to muted shades of yellow and amber.  

 Plovdiv is located in south-central Bulgaria; a crossroad between North, South, East and West. Many cultures have occupied this city at one time or another.  It was a Neolithic settlement, a Thracian hub, a Roman cultural & economic center, a part of the Byzantine Empire as well as the Ottoman Empire; just to name a few.  After many wars, border changes, treaties and conflicts on Sep 6, 1885 it was united once again with Bulgaria and is the second largest city in the country.

 The greatest attraction to the city is the Roman Theater built in the early 2nd century A.D. by the Roman Emperor Traianus.  After being uncovered, by chance, following a mud slide it was excavated from 1968-79 by the Bulgarian Conservation School. I suppose I should not have been surprised that the Romans were once in this area since they conquered most of the known world of their time. Visiting this authentic Roman structure was a great thrill.

 In high school I studied Latin in preparation for college exams.  No study of a foreign language is complete without also studying the culture; with which I became very fascinated.  Elder Segeberg accompanied me as we braved the steep stone staircases to explore the structure.  In those long ago days in Latin class never did I think I would explore an actual Roman structure, let alone one in Bulgaria.
 There are many other remnants of public buildings, shrines, baths, aqueducts and theaters as you walk along the cobblestone streets in Old Town.  Although we did not have time to see even a fraction of all that Plovdiv has to offer we enjoyed a wonderful day of appreciating culture and exploring a beautiful and historic area.  We look forward to more opportunities to explore other regions of Bulgaria during our time here.
Elder and Sister Segeberg

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn is in the air

 This was the first fall-like day that we have enjoyed. There was a slight breeze and the temperature was in the low sixties. After the hot summer we have had it feels wonderful.  All ready we are into October and the trees show no signs of changing to pretty colors.  I fear that they will just fall off and turn brown on the ground.  Either way we will miss the foliage on the trees that dress up the otherwise drab buildings that surround us. 

  In Sofia they have valued their green spaces and allowed for many parks and trees.  We are near the heart of the city but as we walk up the street to the office each day we are walking under a canopy of green. In fact, now as the days grown shorter we have discovered that the trees are obscuring the street lights.  When we arrived in March the evenings were also dark but there were no leaves on the trees yet.

We have been in Bulgaria for the better part of seven months (with only a three week gap when we returned to briefly to the Baltics.)  Now that our traveling has slacked off we have settled into a regular pattern of spending our days at the office.   

 I am primarily in charge of anything to do with missionaries arriving or departing as well as communications – mail, e-mail, supplies for missionaries and the office as well as various other duties as assigned. 

  Elder Segeberg seems to be a fireman; or at least he is always putting out fires.  If it isn’t a computer issue then it is a financial matter; reimbursing missionaries for travel and such, or correcting financial reports, etc.  Our days pass very quickly.  Often on Monday I feel as though I have everything under control and wonder what I will have to do all week and without fail more things materialize than I could have imagined.  Things seem to wait to show up until they are a crisis.  What I know about Word and Excel is a benefit every day. 

 All of the knowledge Elder Segeberg has about computers and problem solving keeps things running smoothly.  But we are happy to put the things that we have learned over the years in the business world to good use serving the Lord.  I always knew that there was something more valuable that I could be doing than contributing to the inefficiency of our financial culture.  Elder Segeberg knew that there was a better application for his computer skills and intellect than trying to force information into disinterested students.  In the mission field you have eager young men and young women who are enthusiastic to serve.  Their bright faces and infectious smiles are amazing!

  Although everyone is bound to have a down day every now and then, the only tears we have seen are in the eyes of those departing for home as they say farewell to a place and people they have grown to dearly love.  One burly young man was given the opportunity to share his feelings with the group today since he will be leaving for home in two weeks.  As he stood up he said, “Don’t expect to see tears because I was born with defective tear ducts, I never cry!”  What he meant was that he is not an emotional person.  Much to his surprise, before he had finished he had to wipe the tears from his eyes more than once.  Everyone was touched by this strong young man as he shared his deep feelings.  He will be dearly missed!  We have to remind ourselves that on the other side of the ocean there are loving arms that are eager for his return.

We are enjoying this marvelous opportunity!  Although we miss our family dearly, we know that this is where we belong at this time.

Love to All
Elder and Sister Segeberg