Monday, August 31, 2015

Our Terrifying Elevator Experience!!!

Hello my amazing friends and family!!(: 

What a week!(: It seems like I say that in every weekly email...but I guess we are just always coming upon new opportunities and people!(: 

We made it a goal this transfer to really try and get the less actives to church - and so all of the missionaries have gone to visit the 8 less actives that we have here in our branch - all in the past two weeks. However - there is one man named "Fratele Vitel" and he is seriously one of the funniest people I have EVER met, but is also one of the most stubborn haha(: We decided that we were really going to try to get him to come to church this week, and so all 6 of us missionaries went to go and visit him on Friday

So we got into the "block" which is like an apartment building - and all 4 of us sisters got in the elevator. We closed the doors and hit the top floor (there were 10 floors...) and the elevator began to move. But then...literally 15 seconds suddenly just started shaking and then just stopped. JUST STOPPED! 

To say that we panicked is an understatement. 

Elevators in Romania are SUPER small and super sketchy...and so literally all of our worst nightmares came true that day. However we all have different personalities - so it was a hilarious experience because Sora Green just was SO done with the whole situation, Sora Trebas was panicking and recounting to us all the tower of terror stories, Sora B Armstrong thought it was Hilarious and started to JUMP!!! (NEVER do that in a Elevator in Romania) and I was just dying of laughter the entire time because it was all just a mix of "Is this even really happening right now."

Anyway - we were stuck for a good 15 minutes - trying to call the Elders who decided to take the stairs, and we kept hitting the alarm button - which turned out to be just a horn noise. After about 35 minutes we finally opened up the elevator doors, and barrel-rolled out of the elevator to avoid the doors slamming on us. Needless to say it was quite the experience  - but the lesson with Fratele Vitsel ended up being amazing and he ended up coming to church on Sunday!(: So the elevator experience was totally worth it!

Also this week I have had the chance to basically become "the branch family history consultant." haha its been AWESOME!(: I've had to enter in over 100 Romanian, Moldovan, and Nigerian names this week because our branch gets to go to the temple this week! They only have the opportunity to go to the temple once in the entire year because it is so far away (They can go to Ukraine or Germany) and because it is so so expensive. However, it is amazing so see how much it means to all of these people here in our branch! They spend so much time finding their family members dates, places where they were born, and such - and it is usually immediate family members that they are doing the work for. It has been such an incredible blessing to help them - and such a tender mercy to see how close all of these members are with their families. 

I truly believe that the closer we strive to be with our family and the closer we strive to have the gospel in our lives and together as a family - we become United, blessed, and receive guidance and strength like nothing else. One of the very first principles that we teach as missionaries - Even before the restoration - is that 
A. God is our loving Heavenly Father 
and that:
B. The Gospel blesses families. 

I can testify to you that it does! If we are striving to go to the temple, to have family home evening, and to read the book of mormon together every night as a family - it makes all the difference! In school, in work, in relationships, in everything! It is truly such a blessing and I am eternally grateful for my family and for my Father in Heaven!
I love you all!(: 

Sora Armstrong

(The elevators are so, so small)

(This is Fratele Vitel) 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pressing Forward to Find the Light!

Hello my family and friends! It has been quite the week and it hasn't really even been a whole week since I emailed last so that is sayin' somethin' haha(: 

Well to start off...our baptism fell through. Not the best way to start an email...but its been on our minds a lot since it happened and its been hard to think about anything else really. During sacrament meeting on Sunday - Sora B Armstrong and I received a phone call from our Investigator with a Baptismal date - named Alesea. We were hoping that she was coming to church and had just gotten lost or something, and so we quietly stepped out into the hall to give her a call back - but it wasn't what we were expecting at all. Alesea opened right up with the statement "I can't do the baptism on Thursday." and began to explain why. 

I can't explain how I felt in that moment - but to be honest - it was hard. And I was really confused and just really..let down I guess. We had been working so hard with her and we loved her SO much and we had both wanted this SO bad for her, but she wasn't ready. 

We went out to go see her yesterday and she immediately jumped into the why which was good. She feels like she isn't ready to renounce her old church, like she isn't ready to push away her family...but she did say that this church is true -just that now isn't her time. 

It was heartbreaking - but it was all okay. and I truly have an incredible amount of hope and faith that she will take that step towards baptism, it just might not be as soon as we thought. 

Things always seem to have a way of working out - even if we are in the dark for a while. I've seen this several times in my life, and while it is hard at first - if we push forward in that darkness and keep trying our best - God is going to provide a way. 

In 1 Nephi chapter 4 - it talks about how Laman and Lemuel and Nephi and Sam are given the big and hard task to go all the way across the wilderness, go into a kingdom and ask for a set of brass plates from a king who they know will not just hand them over. I often think that if it were me in that situation- I would be freakin out! And probably ask Heavenly Father or my father Lehi if there was any other way. But I love what Nephi says. "Yes," he says.  "I will go and do and follow God." But, he also says in verse 6 that he didn't know what he was going to do. I can just imagine that he would be feeling the same feelings as Alesea did as her baptism got closer, or similar to how we all feel as we go though any new trial or hard thing - we would feel lost, confused, afraid, and alone. 
YET! What does Nephi say in the next verse? "Nevertheless,  I went forth."

HOW COOL RIGHT? He is saying that if we go forward relying and trusting and having faith in our Heavenly Father and our Son Jesus Christ - there is absolutely NO WAY that they are going to leave us alone! They were there for me, they were there for Nephi and his brothers, and I know that they will be there for Alesea and for YOU! If we continuously press forward - regardless of all the pain, sorrow, and fear - there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

I love you all and I hope you are pressing forward with all the new challenges of school(: haha(: I love you!!!

Sora Armstrong

This is a DOG!!! Does it not look like a bear???????????? Seriously, I was terrified.... these wild dogs just basically freak me out hahaha. Mitch would have loved this dog though!

We had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Grace on Sunday! We found Tagalog Books of Mormon for her and for her friends - and we were able to share our stories as to why it is important to US!(: Grace has gone through some hard things - but she is such a ROCKSTAR and has been totally relying on God and prayer now and throughout her life! She is continuing to progress so much and it has been such a blessing to be teaching her(: 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SEEK the GOSPEL - a Baptism, Brasov, and the Book of Mormon

Hey hey there friends and family(: Buna Ziua!!(:

To start off....LIVIU IS BAPTIZED!!!!!! Thank you so much for all of your prayers for him - Oh my goodness we were SO pumped for him!!!(: Then the next day he received the Holy Ghost, the Aaronic Priesthood, and a calling to be a Sunday School Teacher! How cool is that? He was super happy and was just smiling all the while haha - what a ROCKSTAR!! 

Then on Monday at the glorious morning of 5:30AM - we headed out to Bucharest! From there we all piled onto buses - and took the 4 hour drive to Brasov. It is BEAUTIFUL there! I cannot express how happy I was to see mountains again! Everything was just so clean and it wasn't as humid and it was just glorious! 

Right when we got there we headed right out on a hike to go and see a beautiful waterfall, and from there we headed back to go and tour the Castle Cantacuzino. 

The next morning we had a mission conference in the chapel in Brasov - and President Ivory and Sora Ivory gave us a new read the entire book of mormon in 84 days! President Ivory is SO adamant that we follow this challenge and that we push ourselves to draw Closer to Christ by reading this book. He said, "The Book of Mormon is not only TRUE...but it is CRUCIAL in these Latter-days. As families and individuals do this - they will be blessed both in school, work, and family situations." 

SO(: As school is starting back up, and as family life gets crazier and busier, and as work gets more and more intense - President Ivory, Sora Ivory, and MYSELF challenge YOU to read the Book of Mormon in 84 days. I know that there will seem like there is no time, or way to read all 5 chapters - but I promise that if you pray for the opportunity to do so - and if you act on it - you will be so so HAPPY and you are going to see So many incredible, amazing, and INCREDIBLE blessings(: The Book of Mormon is TRUE! I know it with all my heart! It is a compass that guides and converts us and our hearts to become better and closer to our Father in Heaven! I encourage all who have read it before to read it again! Or for those who have never read it all the way through - to Start!!!! It will change your life - for I have seen how it changes others and I have seen how it has changed mine!(: I believe in you - and I love each of you!

Have an amazing week(: 

Sora Armstrong


Sora Pusy, Green and me. We were all in the same MTC group. I would love to serve with both of these girls at some point! We decided that since we were in a castle we needed to act like princesses and try out this whole "proper" thing haha

The "Armstrongs" at the top of the mountain!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Planul Salvarii

Buna Buna Ziua!!(: Afa-nou!!!!(:

How are you all??(: It is so good to hear from you and to see what incredible weeks ya'll have been having! 

This week has been quite the adventure! I discovered some more interesting culture things, President and Sora Ivory (the mission president) came over to Constanta for Sunday and got to meet our branch, we had some AMAZING lessons, and we just continued to see miracles!

As for some fun culture things, EVERY single tree here in Romania is painted white halfway down the tree. They believe it keeps away least thats what they've been telling me. I also got yelled at this week for carrying a pot on the street. They believe its a sign that you are going to be poor and have I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave my mission with around 50+ curses haha because I have been yelled at a number of times for carrying a pot, putting my bag on the ground, not having a fan, etc.. I also discovered this week some even crazier things about the AC. Its usually the older generation who HATES the AC and believes that it will make them sick - but there are different extremes. There are so many people from the older generation that walk around outside with cotton in their ears - because they believe that the wind will blow into their ears and make them sick. Kinda different, but also really fun to see the different culture(: Plus its just hilarious haha. This poor cute lady didn't sit down anywhere on the 20 minute bus ride because of the little AC things blowing out above the seats. 

Our investigators are really progressing and it has been SO cool to see them draw closer and closer to Christ - but it has also been awesome to see the missionaries progress. President Ivory has really been pushing this theme called "Mountains to Climb" or the "84 day challenge." He gave us a checklist that is 84 days (it started before I made it to Romania, but we've still been able to participate) where we evaluate at the end of the day if we were 100% obedient, if we did at LEAST 2 hours of contacting, if we were always positive, if we Spoke the language, etc. Then if we earn it - the entire mission gets to go to Brasov, Romania to go on a gorgeous hike, eat a banquet in a castle, stay the night, and then visit Dracula's castle! HOW COOL RIGHT?? So the entire mission has been working SUPER hard - so all 100 of us Missionaries have earned it and are going to Brasov next sunday night for this mission conference!! #SOpumped #DREAMcity #BucketList

This week Sora Armstrong and I have really been focusing on Liviu, and making sure that he is ready for his baptism that is THIS SATURDAY!!! Ah I'm so proud of him!! His birthday was on Saturday, so we made a cake for him to celebrate, and even though things are hard for him with his family - he has been such a trooper and has been really pushing forward with this gospel! The Lord has amazing things in store for him because his heart is SO prepared - its incredible! 

The language has been really rough and hard for me these past few days, because every time I feel like I've mastered a principle - I am quickly humbled and I get the chance to try try again. Its really hard because I feel like I can't participate in lessons as much as I could because I don't always understand what they're saying or how to respond - but I've really been trying to just focus on what the Spirit is directing me to say. I had an incredible experience with that in a lesson with Liviu this week when we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation. 

We had our little diagram and were teaching the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation, while also making sure that he understood. Its often hard to understand Liviu because he talks SO fast, but it seemed like he was grasping the concepts pretty well. We had just gotten done talking about the resurrection and judgement, and were about to move onto the different kingdoms of glory (such a COOL subject to teach by the way) when I had the feeling that we needed to stop and that I needed to share my personal experience and testimony of the resurrection. At first I was terrified, but I asked Sora Armstrong if I could share something - and in my broken Romanian, I began to tell and share my experience and my families experience about how amazing the knowledge we have about how we can have PERFECT bodies and how we will be able to become glorified and happy. I don't know if it effected Liviu in anyway -  but I know that it changed me and through that experience of opening up to him and trying to bring in the Spirit - it opened my eyes to the incredible power and LOVE that comes from testifying and involving the Spirit. 

I encourage you to share your testimony to someone or in someway this week - it will  open the doors for so many opportunities for you and the people who hear it. 

Have an INCREDIBLE week - know how much I love you all!!!

Te iubesc!

Sora Armstrong

(Us eating cake with Liviu for his b-day! #43)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Carbon Monoxide, Colors, and Cartea Lui Mormon

Another incredible week full of miracles, opportunities, and roller coasters!

To start it off we had quite the adventure on Wednesday afternoon......get ready for this..haha(:
When Sora B Armstrong and I walked into our apartment building at the end of the day, we were immediately hit with the smell of gas and exhaust literally smelled like someone had moped the floor with gas, and then revved their car in there a few times just for fun haha. We were SO confused and were immediately concerned as to what was going on - and if our apartment was going to smell the same way. We ran into the apartment, and Sora B Armstrong went to go and find the Carbon Monoxide Monitor from a back bedroom. She tested the monitor and then set it in our kitchen which is somewhat closer to the door. Our apartment didn't smell like gas or exhaust so we felt we were fine because Carbon Monoxide is a gas that doesn't smell - but about 5 minutes later the alarm went off again......twice. 

We both grabbed our bags, opened the windows, and headed out - but started to notice that we were both getting some serious headaches that we didn't have 30 minutes earlier....NOT A GOOD SIGN. Anyways...we had the District Leader bring another monitor to see what the problem was, we called Sora Ivory, the senior couples, the landlords, the branch president, some other people - and after 2 nights of staying at the other Soras and after a lot of tests and prayers - our apartment and Sora B Armstrong and I are doing great! It just goes to show that you can never be too prepared and that everything will workout if we are obedient! #beprepared #beobedient 

On a lighter note....We also this week had the chance to meet with a guy named Liviu twice. HE IS SO TIGHT! He is a history and geology professor - and is a referral from a lady in our branch named Sora Ghimon. She invited him to our Pioneer Day activity last Saturday - but then she left before he even got it was Liviu and 6 missionaries because the rest of the branch was watching Ephriams Rescue upstairs. He immediately opened up to us - and told us about his life and how he had really been struggling. His wife left him for a guy on Facebook who is in America, and she took their four kids with her. 

It was SO hard to watch him share this story - but it was incredible to see how he was handling it and how optimistic he was about the future. He is really lonely, and because there is no school in the summer - he literally has NOTHING to do haha. We ended up giving him a Cartea Lui Mormon and invited him to church the next day, and HE CAME!! #rockstar He has already read all the way through 3rd Nephi in the Cartea Lui Mormon! #rockstarX2

We had a quick lesson with him after that, and then two others later on in the week, and I am amazed because he is SO PREPARED! He LOVES the Book of Mormon! The gospel just makes sense to him! He understands the priesthood, the Restoration, the Apostasy, prophets - it is just incredible! We ended up giving him the baptismal challenge - and set a date with him for AUGUST 15th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #toocool #prepared Be sure to keep him in your prayers because these next few weeks will be quite a roller coaster for him I am sure(: - but he is ready! The Spirt really and truly prepared his heart - and Liviu will have incredible experiences I am certain! 

Overall - it was a week full of experiences of all different kinds - as well as miracles of all sorts. One of the most incredible things that I have seen since coming out on a mission is how it really is the Spirit who is the teacher - and how recognizing that Spirit both as an investigator and as a teacher can change lives. There was once a missionary that said, "Ask yourself every single time after you leave a lesson if the Holy Ghost was the senior companion in the situation or the junior companion ." There is such an INCREDIBLE difference whenever the Spirit is the primary teacher! This is one of the reasons why I think they teach missionaries how to bear there testimonies in Romanian very first! Because the simple power and Spirit that comes from bearing a testimony is miraculous and changes not only the people who are hearing it, but also changes the person who is sharing it! 

There have been several lessons especially this last week where it was difficult for me to participate because I didn't understand everything or because they were asking questions about topics that I didn't know how to explain correctly in Romanian - but I would try my best to say what the Spirit helped and guided me to say - whether that was backing up my companion, reading a scripture, or bearing my testimony. It is such truth that instead of us needing to focus on what we have to say next, or what is said, we need to focus on how we feel - and THAT is when the real change occurs because that in-and-of itself is a testimony - a confirmation that this gospel is TRUE!! (Alma 17:3) (D&C 50:14)

I love you all! and I hope you have an incredible week! Also - one of my favorite scriptures this week - Alma 26:37 - I challenge you to read it and share it with whoever you'd like(: 

Te iubesc!!!!!

Sora Armstrong

We had the chance to go and hand out cards and flyers about our English class and about “Meet the Mormons” (movie) when the Color Run was here in Constanta! People kept throwin chalk at us and it just turned into a hilarious, fun, effective way to contact!(: It was great!

The girl who is standing by me is Grace!!! We had the chance to meet with her and with some of her friends and teach about The Restoration. We are workin on getting Books of Mormon in Tagolog for them to read(: