Monday, September 24, 2012

"Not really anything incredibly exciting......except......that I'm having a baptism!!!! Well hopefully. I met this guy on the street named Nikola, and we immediately hit it off."

Hey! I'm here :) I'll start off with your questions.

How has your week been? Anything exciting?
 - Not really anything incredibly exciting......except......that I'm having a baptism!!!! Well hopefully. I met this guy on the street named Nikola, and we immediately hit it off. He really kind of taught himself the Gospel, we only watched it happen. He invited himself to church the first week, and wants to be baptised the 6th of October. He isn't going to be able to attend church again until then, so we might push it back a week. But he's way awesome! He is unfortunately moving about 80 km away from Haskovo, which is the nearest branch to him. He said that he will keep going to church, and I believe him, but it is hard to baptise someone and send them away. But yay! Other than that, I have been having really bad migraines every 3 weeks or so, and I had one yesterday. We went home to take a break so that I wouldn't die...
Have you been writing in your journal every day? Have you finished a whole book yet?
 - Yes I have, and no I haven't finished one. Those books are surprisingly big. About halfway done with one.
How has the weather been?
 - Nice and cool. Loving the weather right now.
Grampa Tom wants to know: when do you expect the first snowfall? 
 -Hmmm, probably end of october, early november... But I really have no idea. The rain here is CRAZY though.
Do the mountains change color there as much as here? 
 - Hmmmm....what mountains... :) Haha no we just have "mountains" here (hills). And there's not a ton of vegetation.
Did you get a jacket? How did the ATM card work? How much was it? What does it look like? Where did you get it?
 - Didn't get a jacket yet, I might wait to go into Sofia to get that one. They are apparently cheaper. I will look at the mall today, and if I see one I like, I will get it.
Have you been sick at all?
 - See "Migraines" above. . . I have had two so far. They really really knock me out, and I get feverish with them as well.
Can you drink the water? Anything unsafe to eat?
 - Yeah the water's not a big deal in cities, it's just in the villages that It's a problem. Everything here is "unsafe" to eat. The duners that I love so much are literally a pile of rotating raw chicken that is cooked by a flame on one side. They just cut it off super thin. USA wouldn't ever allow some of the stuff here for health regulations.
What do you do in the city square all day? We think you hand out pamphlets and BofMs. Maybe sing hymns? Who plays the guitar? Did she bring it with her? Do the people like your singing or do they yell at you?
 - We aren't allowed to hand out Books of Mormon, because most people won't read them, and there are only hardcovers. We only get about 20 at a time. We give people a book if they agree to have a lesson with us. Pamphlets, yes. We have sung a couple times with Sister Campbell's guitar. Honestly, people don't notice us singing....
Have you ha enough money to buy what you need? How much do you spend on groceries? Where is the store? Do you have peanut butter?
 - Yeah we are pretty good on money here. We usually spend about 70 lev a week on groceries between the two of us. One difference between America and Bulgaria, is NOTHING IS FREE. Not plastic bags, not water at restaraunts, nothing. So we buy some bags and haul our groceries to our apartment about 2/3 km away.
Have you taken the bus yet? 
 - Yeah we have taken the bus a couple times. If we go to a different city, we only take the bus. But a TON of walking, and some taxis too.
When is your zone conference? Where?
 - October like 12th?? In Plovdiv.
How long has elder barber been there?
 - He has been in country for 5 months.
How many areas are there that you could get set to eventually? 
 - There are 11 open cities that are available for missionaries.
What is your Sunday schedule? 
 - Church from 10 to 1, then lunch at 2, from 3 - 5:30 weekly planning session, then at 6 we go Diado Juan, who is this crazy old guy that we take the sacrament to every week. Then home to make dinner, plan for the next day, study the language, and bed.
Did you get to see the temple broadcast? 
 - No, we don't have access to anything at all. Was it cool?

Write back quick!! I love and miss you all!!
Ally: Your hair looks very pretty. :)
Jesse: Keep kicking butt on the soccer field!!
Kayla: You should try to play an instrument! That would be so cool!

--
Старейшина Форши
Where did you meet your baptism guy? Who has been teaching him? Where will you baptism him if it happens?
Yeah I just take Advil and Tylenol. I don't feel like a doctor is quite necessary yet, because they only come every couple weeks. Yeah there is a mall in the city. Very small, but it has some american food which is cool! And we will baptise Nikola (who I met street contacting, and who I have been teaching) on the roof of our building in the portable font.
How are you getting along with everyone?
Everybody is incredible. I love them all. There are never any arguments or disputations. Everyone loves everyone, and the work. :)

That's awesome!!! Dies Nikola have a family? How old is he?Hmmmm. He's probably 40 or 45. He has a wife, but I don't think any kids.
Is the wife learning the gospel as well?
No unfortunately. We don't know where she is. He is only in Stara Zagora because of a new job training and will be moving back on October 22. He doesn't talk about her much.

So you sound pretty happy? What is your favorite thing about being there?
Yes. Probably just the being here part. There is no other time where I don't really have any worries about anything but bringing people to the Gospel. 
What are your plans today?
The Slevin Elders are coming in today for some reason..cause there is literally nothing to do in Stara. But We will hang out with them a little bit. Watch a movie. We can watch one disney animated movie once a week. And yes I have pictures, give me just a sec to upload them.
Remind me who they are again.
I don't remember all of the Slevin elders names. They were the ones on top of the mountain.
Taylor is doing good. No worries. He has to wear his glasses instead of contacts, because there literally is no where to get them clean. The water is very bad. He loves the people and is learning how to get dirty I guess. :) Grama sent another letter for you. I hope it gets there. She wants to know what you want for christmas from her... so do I...
That's good. I'm glad he is doing well. I miss him.  I haven't gotten another letter from Grama yet, but I apparantly have a package from grandma candy?? The mission office called me and said candy cuellar. ?? But I don't know. When I go in to sofia again, I'll get to check my mail. I don't really know if I want anything for christmas?? And no i haven't really bought anything. Or dry cleaned anything. The washer in my apartment is sufficient.
Do you have a phone in your apartment?
Okay. I will. And yeah I do. Umm, are you getting these pictures? They keep getting rejected for some reason on my end.
How is the language coming? Can you say what you want to say and understand people ok? How are people treating you? Any better? Are the people blond, dark? What primarily do they look like?
 Haha if only the language was coming okay. It's hard. I can pick things out, but I'm nowhere near sufficient. The people are darker, but only just. Kind of like from california. Blond, dark, and dyed hair of all varieties..
Where were you in these pics? Love the animals!
We wen't to Brother Major's farm. He is from america but had some tax stuff to work out so he just left and moved out here with his wife. He has a small farm about an hour away and we went to do some service. I totally forgot to take a picture for missionary mall. I'll remember next week. Also, what is my blog site?
Hey, I gotta run. Make sure that you put all this up on the blog and tell people like Amy and Lexi that I miss them and that They should look at my blog. Mom, I love you so much, hope you have a good week, and see you soon! ;)







last of them. We designated a day as Sister day, and I made them a texas sheet cake (from memory I might add) and made their days. And another mafia car...my collection is growing nicely!! I have 1111 2222 6666 7777 9999. I need 0000 3333 4444 5555 8888








Monday, September 17, 2012

"It is a lovely RAINY day here in Stara Zagora. The rain demolished the heat and I'm loving it."

Hey Ya'lls! How is everybody today!?

It is a lovely RAINY day here in Stara Zagora. The rain demolished the heat and I'm loving it. Let me answer the questions, then I will tell about my week.

What is your favorite thing about the city you are in?
 - Hmmmm.....It is a smaller city which I like. It is only a 25 minute walk across the whole thing. And Stara is the only city in Bulgaria that has straight streets like a grid system. Makes getting around easier.
What is your apartment like? Do you fit in that little bed?
 - Hahahahaha my apartment is kind of a joke.. :) It is like 400 sq. feet, has no hot water anywhere except the shower, and even that is only lukewarm. And the water smells oddly like eggs..... Small kitchen with only 2/4 working stoves. No disposal. :) But it's pretty cool.
What is your favorite time of your day? Least favorite?
 - Favorite actual hour of the day is when I get to language study. Least favorite is the couple minutes right before contacting, when you realize that you will be pounding the pavement for hours.
How are the people that you are teaching doing? Are they progressing? Committed?
 - Haha "progressing." That's a funny word that means nothing in Bulgaria. No one is even close to a baptism. And all of our "progressing" investigators eventually get bored and ask us to never call them again.
How's the branch you are meeting at?
 - Haha ummm, it's cool..ish. We have probably 13-16 members coming, and they are all over the age of 55. The branch president is my district leader Elder Olmstead.
How far do you walk each day?
 - I have no way to know for sure, but I would guess 5-7 miles.
When is your zone conference? Will it be in Sofia? Where will you all stay?
 - Zone conference is for Zones, not missions. My zone head is in Plovdiv. I will be going down there just for the day in October sometime. Early bus down, late bus back.
Have you seen President or Sister Wilstead? 
 - Many times! Sister Wilstead says hi to you every time we see each other. She was telling me about your reaction to the video.
Have any transfers happened yet?
 - Nope. Every 9 weeks is a mission wide transfer.
What are the cars that you keep taking pics of? I'm SURE there has to be a story along with those! 
 - Hehehe. Here in Bulgaria, we have what is called the "family," a.k.a. Mafia. If you see a nice car with the same number for all of its license plate, then the car is owned by the mafia. I have a goal to take a picture of all of them, 0 - 9. If I see the car that is 0000, then that is the Mafia leader. I can't wait. Apparantly the mafia here like the Mormons....
We would like to send you a family christmas video... what is the best method to get it to you? DVD? Flashdrive? Email? All family stuff and Christmas related music not to worry. ;) 
 - Probably DVD. I have a DVD player in my apartment, but I'm not exactly sure it's allowed. Plan on sending it, but I'll let you know if I can't.
Anything exciting happening this week? 
 - Well, I got to go 3 places. Slevin on Monday for the hiking, Plovdiv on Wednesday for a zone training, and Brother Major's farm on friday near Nova Zagora. The hike was incredible, pictures to follow, but I did get a little sick afterwards. I overexerted with no water, and caused a nice fun migraine. I had to take a little bit of rest time  on Tuesday. Plovdiv was cool! I got to see Elders Hoy and Greenacre who are in plovdiv right now. And the farm was cool! We did a service project harvesting grapes.
Anyone else tried to spit on you?? Take your nametag? I am not happy with those guys!!! ;) 
 - Haha not yet, but soon don't worry! ;)

So yeah I'm having a wonderful time here! Tell Grandma Cindy that I loved getting her letter. It made it here just fine. I miss everybody a ton, and can't wait to get some pictures sent to you! Love you all, and talk to you soon!

--
Старейшина Форши
Nope haven't gotten the Dearelder. Apparently, the Wilsteads if they have the oppurtunity will try to take you letters and packages, but there's no guarantees. They were at the zone training meeting that I went to.

No I haven't gotten any other letters or dearelders. And no jacket yet. I haven't tried my atm card for fear of fees. Should I try it today?
Yeah they are all coming through. I just had to upload a ton of pictures so I couldn't respond. :) Like them??

Haha nope we didn't overpack. I really have everything right now. But missionary mall kinda sucks. Their belts are coming apart, and one of my shoes is starting to wear through where my heel is. I don't think we should get new ones sent yet, but eventually.

It's a 25 minute walk from my apartment, and it's like 1.20 lev / hour.

Cool. I'll send those next week.
Haha she said that Both you and elder barber's mom started it off with "Thank you Thank you Thank you!" I was like, yeah that sounds like my mom all right. :)

I got all of the pictures. ALLY DYED HER HAIR?? I think I remember you telling me that but that is nuts that you let her do that. But tell her it looks pretty. Love my girls. But I can't see the video. Public computers I can't download. Plans for today, get some баница cause I'm starving, maybe a дюнер, go to the church and watch Mulan with the elders and sisters in my district. Take it back and relax, then I have 3 lessons tonight at 6 7 and 8 pm.
I haven't knocked on a single door. We are saving tracting like that for the winter. The main street in every city is called the glav. It is pedestrian only, and has shops and stuff. We walk up and down it with books of mormon talking to as many people as possible. We give pamphlets about the book of mormon and take down phone numbers to meet with people again.

Hey, I have to go now, but I love you, glad I could talk to you, and I'll talk to you next week!

Here are some pictures of my hike! The pictures don't do it justice, but we took this ski lift literally up the face of this mountain to the top. It was SO HIGH!!! Really great sights with the Slevin Elders and Sisters as will.

Haha yeah that city is Sleven. The satelite thing I think is just a radio / cell phone tower, but it was HUGE. Again the pictures don't do them justice.






















Monday, September 10, 2012

"Guess where I am today! I got to go to Слевин Slevin with my entire district. We took a bus out super early today, and are going to be hiking around here."

Quick Mommy note...
So, I have found my new Sunday night routine... Send my email to Nick with that week's need-to-know questions...then...I just stay awake until 2 am MT (that's 11 am Bulgarian time) and I get to chat with Elder Forshee! Sooooo worth it! I will just post his emails and responses to the questions I ask him during our conversation. We got doubly lucky this week...MORE PICTURES!!!

9/10

Hey Ya'lls! How are you? Sorry, It doesn't look like I will be able to email any earlier than 10:30 at the earliest. But guess where I am today! I got to go to Слевин Slevin with my entire district. We took a bus out super early today, and are going to be hiking around here. I'm so happy to see that you are all doing well! I love to hear from you because it is a definitely hard work out here. Let me start out by answering you questions.  .  .

How is the teaching going? Any new contacts? How is the reception of the people going this week? Any better? We all sent our love and affection as requested... <3
 - Eh, teaching is all right. I have 3 progressing investigators at the moment. Their names are Vania, Airgyuun, and Demietir. Ваня, Ергюн, и Дмитер. They are all hard to teach here. Nobody wants us in the country let alone to be taught. . But things are going good.
Is it still hot or is it starting to cool down? When do the seasons change?
 - Starting to cool down, but not too quick. It is just soo hot here. :) They should change within about a month.
Is the terrain a lot like UT? Mountainous ? Hilly? Difficult to walk?
 - Stara Zagora has one hill...and I live on top of it. Everything else is very flat. Not too difficult to walk, except the streets suck really bad. Need to be redone.
It is my understanding that there are 4 elders in Stara Zagora including yourself? And two sisters??? Who are they? Is this correct? Where do the others live? Do you see them?
 - That is correct. Elders Barber, Olmstead, and Lamb. And Sisters Campbell and Frame (who was in the MTC with me). I see them on a daily basis. We have lunches and stuff.
What do you do for food? Give us a rundown on your daily meals... Eat out? Cooking? Lunch on the go?
 - Food is interesting here. It just doesn't change. I hardly ever eat breakfast, but if I do it is a small bowl of cornflakes or a yogurt. Lunch is most often 2 Duners (which are basically chicken, french frie, and sauce in a flatbread taco), and for dinner usually a piece of bread with лютенитза on it. Kind of like tomato paste that is really good. But that's about it. I am so exhausted at night, there isn't any time for cooking. I did make Elder Barber and I some cookie dough the other night for a little treat. I totally eyeballed everything and just had to remember the Nikki's Friend's recipe! It turned out great!
How is the yogurt quest going? Like sour milk yet? ;)
 - haha hahaha. No. It's rather disgusting. :)
Where was church yesterday? Was the pic of the family you sent last week the members that you held church with last Sunday? Did they feed you?
 - Yesterday was in Stara Zagora again. And the picture of the "family" are just the individual members. That's all the members. Not even a family. And no, no feeding.
What things are you enjoying there? What seems to be the hardest part right now?
 - Contacting is harder. But I'm learning to like it. It's just hard when people come up and try to steal your nametag, or start yelling at you or stuff like that. But everything else is cool. I like to live here!
Are most of the missionaries from the United States? Are any local elders?
 - Elder Barber is from Washington state, but we were at BYU at the same time (we didn't know each other). Olmstead is from Arizona, Lamb is from a tiny town near vernal, Frame is from Ephraim, and Campbell is from Seattle.
Any suggestions yet on Christmas? I will be sending this soon...
 - Haha I'm a little nervous... :) No suggestions.
(not really a question)I sent a dear elder last week. I'm sure you haven't received it yet, but be on the lookout..
 - haha will do. I haven't received it yet.
Have you had to buy any clothes yet? A coat or cold weather stuff for when it gets time?
 - No clothes yet, but I'm going to Plovdiv on Wednesday for a Zone meeting. Might get stuff then.
Has the ATM card worked?
 - Haven't tried it yet for fear of large fees. . .
Anything else I am forgetting???
 - Ummm, no! I think that's about everything!

So, харесва ми да бъда тък в стара загора. Обичам да живея в Булгария, и обичам хората тук. Трудно е да бъда мисионер, но аз знам че Господа ме обича и ще ми помага. Обичам да бъда мисионер на църквата на исус христос на светиите от последните дни. Обичам ви, и това е всичко аз мога да говоря на български сега. :)
Translation: I like to be Tuck in Stara Zagora. I love to live in Bulgari, and I love the people here. It's hard to be a missionary, but I know that God loves me and will help me. I love being a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love you and that's all I can now speak Bulgarian.

Dad and Mom, I love you both so much, and your emails make my week every time I get them!
Ally: I'm so sorry about your friend. Just trust in the Lord, and he will help you through.
Jesse: I miss you so much! I want to hear your cute and funny laugh so bad..
Kayla: I hear you're getting so big! You might even be bigger than me when I get back!! :)

So yeah I'm having a great time here, and I will send some new pictures and stuff. I love you all so much!
--
Старейшина Форши

Ps, I have lost SO. MUCH. WEIGHT. :) :) :) If you ever want to lose like a ton of weight, go on a mission to Bulgaria. :)



--
Старейшина Форши
Hi! Hold on, I'm uploading pictures. :)

Haha yeah I'm eating enough. I just walk EVERYWHERE. Like literally. Pictures are being transferred to my flash drive right now, so it will be just a couple minutes.

Haha no I'm not in my suit. We are in actual clothes for once!! But yeah we are sightseeing up a mountain. Like a chairlift thing apparantly. That's such a shame about ally.. Give her a big hug from me.

Karandilla mountain. And no food that I really can't get here.

Eh, things are different. Like I hate the butter. But a lot is the same.
Yeah grocery store. Pics are coming now! But I have to go. Love you so much!












Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Special Gift from Sister Wilstead :)

video


9/5

I opened this email from Sister Wilstead this morning and have never smiled and cried so much! Hearing my son's voice, sing one of my favorite hymns in Bulgarian! What a great gift! Thank you Sister Wilstead for sending this to me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Аз знам че Бог Отец и Исус Христос ни обичат."

9/3
Hey everybody!! Week 2 in Bulgaria here we come. I did need to send this to all my friends as well, because I cannot email friends whilst here on the mission. :( Bummer. But my wonderful parents can forward these emails to whomever might like them. Bulgaria is going great!! Elder Barber and I are having a good time. I will take the liberty of answering those questions for you now...

Can you listen to any music there?
- Yes, but only Church / Classical.
How is the language coming?
- Everybody says that I'm doing very well. I'm not sure exactly how well myself, but I have to just keep telling myself I have only been in the country for a week and a half....
Have you ridden the buses or just walked? How far?
- We walk. Everywhere. We literally walk from one end of the city to the other just from our apartment to church. We cross the city probably 5 times a day.
Have you made any Bulgarian food yet?
- Made? Negative. By the time I get home every night, I'm so exhausted there isn't any energy to make anything. I did make some eggs last night for Elder Barber and I. My favorite Bulgarian foods thus far are: Лютеница, Баница, мусика. They are way good.
How's the yogurt?
- Hmmmm.... Well, there will be things that I will just have to get used to won't I! :) It's literally like milk that has been left out for a month.
Any spiritual experiences you'd like to share?
- Well, I'm really enjoying bearing my testimony in lessons. I can't do a ton of teaching yet, but whenever the opportunity arrives, I like to bear my testimony of that which Elder Barber is teaching. It gives me a chance to practice and allows for the Spirit to teach what the investigator needs.
When is the next zone conference?
- Octoberish??
Can you receive dear elders? The letter we got from pres wilsteas said you can but only every couple weeks.
- Yeah, but we only get mail like every 6 weeks.
Anything you need?
- Love and affection. Most of the people here don't know what that is....
Anything you can think of for Christmas that I can send?
- Not really?
How is grocery shopping?
- It's weird. Everything is in Bulgarian, so I have no idea what I'm buying. But it's a new experience! 
Have you bought any souvenirs? 
- I bought a map of Stara Zagora. I will buy one for every city I am in.
How is the money situation? Have you needed extra? Pulled any out?
- We have so much money here. Like literally. I shouldn't need to pull too much out at all. 
Where did elders hoy and Stratton end up? 
- Hoy is in Plovdiv, and Stratton is in Sofia.
Do you miss your mommy even a little bit?
- Haha всеки ден. Аз обичам майка ми много. (Looked this up and it says: "Every day. I love my mother very much!")
- So to all of my friends, thank you so much for emailing me! I unfortunately have to tell you that I cannot respond to individual emails anymore. My mom will forward all of my information to whoever wants it. 
--Trevor, thank you so much for the good luck email. It really comes in handy.
--Taylor, I'm so excited for you to hit the field! You will be amazing!
--Amy, yes I did get that last letter, and thank you very much. I'm excited for you to start school! Good luck at ballroom tryouts, and I hope this semester is awesome for you.
--To Mindy and Chad, thank you so much for the money. I know this is where the Lord wants me, and it is always nice to have a donation. Thank you so much!
--To the rest of my family! I am doing great. We contact all day long, because everybody hates us here and no one wants to be taught. Like literally, we had 5 lessons planned for Saturday, and we actually had 1. I wonder if you got the video from Sister Wilstead? Anyway, I'm going to try to see if I can send some pictures now, so I love you all, and here is my Bulgarian Testimony this week:

Аз знам че Бог Отец и Исус Христос ни обичат. Дават ни заповедите за да ни правят щастливи. Аз знам че Книгата на Мормон е истина. Даде ни мир и щастие. Ако се подчиняваме Книгата на Мормон, ще живеем с Бог и Исус Христос отново. Аз съм благодарен за семейството ми, и свидетелство ми. Казвам тези неща в името на Исус Христос, Амин.
(Translation: I know that God the Father and Jesus Christ love us. Give us orders to make us happy. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Gives us peace and happiness. If you obey the Book of Mormon, we will live with God and Jesus Christ again. I am thankful for my family, and my testimony. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.)


Okay, so here are some pictures. -My entire district. -Just the guys in my district. -The BRAND NEW plane I flew over the ocean on. -The Airport in DC. -Me next to Elder Barber my new companion, -The View from my balcony, -Another view of the plane, -The Door of our church Building here in Stara Zagora, she's pretty huh.  -A DUNER!!! SO GOOD, -If you see a car with just the same number for the license plate, they are refered to as a family car. Family = Mafia. -The members in Haskovo, -My room, - Us eating a Banitza.

Until Next Week!!!! :)
--
Старейшина Форши













Peace out Ya'lls!!
--
Старейшина Форши

Letter from President Wilstead

8/31

Dear Brother & Sister Forshee,

We are grateful to have Elder Forshee serving with us in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission.  We appreciate his enthusiasm and we are confident that he will help us move forward. We will do everything possible to insure that he remains healthy, happy, and actively engaged in his missionary labors.  We pray for our missionaries, as well as their families, every day.

We just want to let you know some of our thoughts and feelings about how you can effectively support your son and to let you know how the Bulgaria Sofia Mission operates.  As parents of a returned missionary, we know some of what you are experiencing and are confident you will receive great blessings through Elder Forshee's faithful service.  It is a great time for you as well as for him.

Communication With The Mission Office:

Normal inquiries and questions about packages or anything related to your missionary's service should be directed to our mission office.  We have a wonderful senior couple serving there who fondly look after, and serve with your son.  You may email at 2013053@ldschurch.org and they will gladly respond.  The mission office phone number from the US is 00359-2-946-3329, and the fax number is 00359-2-944-5258.  These numbers include the international and country codes from the US.  If the office doesn't know how to respond, or if your request/question needs further attention, they will forward your email to the president.

Communication With The Mission President:

If you have concerns that you feel should be shared with us, the best way to reach us is by email at:

President Wilstead mwilstead@ldschurch.orgSister Wilstead dwilstead@gmail.com.  We are often traveling so it may take a day or two to respond.  If there is an emergency concern that you feel demands immediate attention (for instance the death of a grandparent) please call us on our cell phones, President Wilstead 00359-888-639-275 and Sister Wilstead 00359-888-569-690.  These numbers include the international and country codes from the US.  We do not have voice mail on our cell phones, so if we are unable to to answer, I suggest you call back in an hour or so.

Your Contact Information:

We want to be sure that we can always reach you to share with you some of the great events in the life of your son or in the rare event that there is an emergency.  If your emails, home address, home or cell phone numbers change, please send the updated information to the mission office at the email address above.  Thanks for your help with this.

Emails:

The best way you can support Elder Forshee is to write weekly emails. Preparation Day is the time when missionaries read their emails - remember that we are nine hours ahead of the Mountain Time Zone - so you need to send your email by Sunday evening.  Occasionally preparation day is changed to accommodate zone conference.  In this case preparation day would be changed to another day; Tuesday or Thursday.  In your emails share what is happening in your family as well as your testimonies and spiritual insights each week.  We encourage every missionary to follow the Missionary Handbook which limits a missionary's weekly email to family (parents, siblings, and grandparents) and to the mission president, using only  his myldsmail.net email account.  All other correspondence should be letters and cards.

We encourage missionaries to write or email you every week.  If you do not receive an email for two weeks in a row, or have a pattern of sporadic emails, please let us know and we will follow up with your son to encourage him to write.  When you receive your son's email you may want to have a list of those to whom you forward his email.  In our case our son would highlight confidential information in his email so that we knew to delete it prior to forwarding to a list of extended family and and friends.

Letters And Cards:

Letters and cards can be mailed to the mission office at:

Bulgaria Sofia MissionElder Nicolas William Forshee 21 Marin Drinov1504 Sofia, BulgariaEast Europe

Letters and packages will be delivered at the first opportunity.  Please do not send money or valuables.  Another great way to communicate is through the on-line DearElder site - it is $1.05 and gets here in a week.

Packages:

Small airmail packages take about two weeks to arrive.  Packages sent by surface mail can take two to three months to get here.  Hefty customs fees will be charged for packages with a value over $30 US.  NEVER INSURE PACKAGES as they will be given a stiff customs charge that the missionary will pay from their personal funds.  Also, if anything edible is listed it will go to the Department of Agriculture and probably be eaten there!  Mail and packages are picked up regularly by the office staff.

Phone Calls and Visits:

Parents and family will have the opportunity on Christmas and Mothers' Day to visit for 30-40 minutes with Elder Forshee by telephone or Skype (where available.)  You will be responsible for making the phone call.  A few weeks prior to the day he will let you know the number at which he can be reached.  Use this as an opportunity to share and express your love towards one another.  Encourage Elder Forshee to share his testimony in his mission language.  These calls are memorable and special times.  Enjoy them!

Visits from family and friends or acquaintances with your son during his service in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission are against Church policy. Please help your son maintain his focus and singleness of heart and mind on the work of the Lord.

Traveling to the Bulgaria Sofia Mission to Pick up Your Missionary:

The Church discourages parents from traveling to a mission to pick up a missionary at the conclusion of his service.  Until he visits with his stake president, he must dress and conduct himself as a missionary.  Also, the exact return date for your son will not be fixed until approximately four to five months prior to his return.  We have two languages and two countries in which to balance our resources so we wait until we know the timing of the new incoming missionaries before we fix the departure dates of the returning missionaries.  Your son's return date will be somewhere within thirty days prior to or after his anniversary date.

We encourage you to come back after your son has been released to see Bulgaria.  He will have no restriction and can help with the planning.  You can also chose a time and weather that is convenient for you to experience some of the wonderful culture here.

Our primary goal in scheduling arrivals and departures is to minimize disruption with our proselyting efforts and help bless the lives of the people of Bulgaria by teaching them about Jesus Christ.  This may not always be compatable with your travel plans.  We appreciate your understanding on this matter.

We will do everything we can to help Elder Forshee strengthen his faith in Jesus Christ and reach his potential.  If at any time you sense a problem with your son or have a suggestion as to how we can help him be more effective, please send us an email.  You deserve to be very proud of Elder Forshee, he is great! Thanks for your support!

Warmest regards,

President Michael S. WilsteadBulgaria Sofia Mission

"I am in......Stara Zagora!!! It is a really cool city. Lots of tall apartment buildings."

8/27

Good!! I'm here safe in Bulgaria. Ready for this:??

Who is your new companion? Details!!! Where is he from? How long has he been out? etc...
My companion's name is Elder Barber, and he is from Washington state. He is amazing! And he has been here for about 4 months. He is the youngest trainer! He is amazing at the language, and loves to be here.
What did you do for the first day? Week?
First day, we went and filled out some paperwork, got to go to the place where Bulgaria was set apart to be open for missionary work by Elder Nelson in 1990, dedicated our missions there, then went contacting! For dinner we had Shopska Salad, then Mussika, then the most delicious ice cream ever! All the tomatoes will have to grow on me...
WHat area are you in?
I am in......Stara Zagora!!! It is a really cool city. Lots of tall apartment buildings.
What is your apartment like?
My apartment is probably 200 square feet. It has a tiny kitchen, small couch, and an upstairs with two small rooms. It does have 2 bathrooms though.... The toilets here are weird! They have buttons for either a half or full flush. And the bathrooms are water closets so that I can pee, brush my teeth, and be in the shower all at the same time. Really bizarre.
How has laundry gone?
I did my first load of laundry today, and it went well. They are hanging out to dry right now.
What does the area look like? Can you upload photos yet??? This particular internet cafe doesn't have USB ports, but we will look for one that does soon. It is a really beautiful country!
What about the food?
My favorite item is a Duner. (almost pronounced like your name) It is kind of like a soft taco, but it is flatbread with french fries, yummy meats, sauses, and vegetables.
Are you able to speak to people in the language?\
I can bear a good testimony, but that's about it. Elder Barber is apparently impressed at my speaking skills though.
Has anybody yelled at you?
Not quite yet.... Someone tried to spit on me today, but they missed :)
Are you getting used to the temperature?
NO!!! It is so hot. All. The. Time. Like I am literally drenched in sweat from 10am to 9pm. But the church is air conditioned well. My apartment isn't though....
How are your shoes holding up? A lot of walking?
Tons of walking! Like we walk all the way across the city probably 5 times a day for all of our appointments and stuff. No cars or bikes.
How has the money situation been? Bought anything?
Money has been good. I bought a small german plate in the frankfurt airport, which cost like 2 dollars, and a dictionary, but that was on the Support funds. It doesn't look like I will need to use any american money.

I loved the pics!!! But i don't think I got the one that you sent this morning. I'm starting to miss some of my MTC friends, but I am focusing on the work and loving it.

Haha yes I went to church YESTERDAY!! :) :) It is almost  11am here. It was cool! I actually didn't go to the Stara Zagora branch, I got assigned to go to Haskovo. It was an hour and a half bus ride down. There is a small group down there (not big enough for a branch) with one priesthood holder who was sick. Elders Barber and I were the only priesthood holders. The meeting was 2 hours, with 6 people, one of which wasn't a member. I blessed the sacrament, passed it, then got up to give a talk in Bulgarian! It was crazy, but the people said that I did great. It is really hard to understand the people. :)

Just one native and Sister Wilstead. First was shopska salad with kislio mliako (the yogurt), which was okay. I am not a huge fan of just eating tomatoes plain. Then was mousikka which is a famous like potato and egg casserole kind of thing. Felt kind of like that breakfast casserole that you did for christmas but with lots of potatoes on the bottom and different spices. Then the ICE CREAM straight from heaven itself. It is in-frickin-credible. I love it a ton. I hear very similar to real gelato.


It's just us. And to be honest, we don't eat a lot. Small small breakfast, then nothing till like 3 or 4 where we will have like a small duner, then some bread and tomato paste for dinner. Very good tasting, but not a ton. I have already felt myself losing a TON of weight. Tons of constant excersise too. It is just us in the apartment.

Stratton is in Sofia, and Hoy is in Plovdiv. I will probably be here for 18 weeks. They are 9 week transfers, but they have a 12 week greenie program, so I will probably be here until like January.

Haha we aren't sight seeing today, we are going to a mall with some american food to hang out with our district. No jeans / tshirt. All dressed up, all the time.

We excersise at 6:30 just in our apartment when we wake up, so we are already in like excersise clothes.

We can play sports on PDay, but not a ton of time. We still have our 4 hours of study a day, and pday ends at 6. If we are playing sports, then yes we can wear exercise clothes.

There is a doctor that works with the Church in Sofia, but I have been very healthy. If we feel sick we are to call Sister Wilstead immidiately, and she will take care of things..

Love them both so much. They are incredible, and all of the rules are actually right out of the handbook. They only enforce them because it's what the Lord has set for us. It really makes the mission great.

There is a teacher for Sunday School, and the Group Leader (bishop). Everyone else is just the congregation. I spoke in church, but no singing.
We can't use the english ones anymore. Hey I have to go, but I love you, and I'll talk to you next week!!! :)