Wednesday, April 20, 2016

First Generation Baptism

Hey Everyone! 

This week was great! It's been beautiful here in Cluj, I honestly love it here..probably one of my favorite spots in the entire world(: 

So I turned 20 this week! AHHH! But honestly - it was a great day(: It turned out to be Elder nelsons birthday as well so we all went out to a fun dinner, and earlier that day we went to Adriana's and Stefan's house and they fed us SARMALE! One of my favorite things EVER!(: She is honestly the best - she made a homemade cake, gave me a beautiful silver bracelet, flowers, just like SO kind! I like totally started crying because I just felt so loved, and when you're surrounded by the people you love, what more can you ask for?(: ya know? 

Last week we had a baptism in our branch, and it was for a little boy named Razvan who is 9(: It was a really special baptism for our branch, because it was the first child to be baptized into our branch. The first generation of children in Romania. Everyone else who has been baptized into our branch has been a convert when they first met the missionaries with their families. Razvan was born into the church, and now was the first to be baptized. It was so exciting to see the Branch so happy and supportive. Of course, because we live in Romania, things had to be interesting though. Because our church is in a house, we don't have a baptismal font...we have a basin/pool thing that we had to set up the morning of, just like how Liviu's was(: We got to the church around 10:30 I believe and the Elders were already there trying to figure out the water system. Hahaha it took us all morning to figure out connecting hoses, trying to get warm water, filling buckets with hot water....when finally we figured out a way. By connecting a hose to the shower in the top floor of the house...and then feeding the hose out the window. #hanice. Luckily we had our investigator ANGEL there so he helped us out haha(: #yesss

We also went to the Botanical Gardens here in Cluj. We went with the Nelsons, and Felicia, and it was so pretty! Flowers EVERYWHERE. Cluj is seriously just gorgeous right now because there are trees and flowers everywhere you look. 

Transfers are this weekend and we are freaking out because we have no idea what is going to happen. Sora Falkenberg and I really want to stay together, but because I've been here for over 6 months we aren't sure what will happen..... AND Felicia's baptism is next weekend on the 30th (that's the for sure date because her friend from Italy is coming then), and so if I leave, I would miss her baptism by just a few days....but its okay! All that matters is that she is takin this next step ya know? 

The Nelsons, the Senior couple that moved to Cluj are SO SO great. We love them!! They help us out so much. They have been going to appointments with us, they have been helping us with our lessons, Sora Nelson is a fabulous cook and makes us homemade meals making us feel a little bit more at home. And Elder Nelson is hilarious(: He was in the Navy so he has been teaching me all the military sayings haha like "She walks she talks she's full of chalk." or like "Alpha, bravo, charlie..." They just crack me up and are such an addition to our branch here! A HUGE strength(: and great friends!(:

Felicia is doing great, and she is so prepared for her upcoming baptism. She just has such a testimony that this church is true and that it brings her so much happiness. Yesterday after church President Ivory and Sora Ivory skype called her because they speak Italian and we thought it would be a good idea to talk with them. She started crying telling President that she feels so loved here, and she feels like we are family. She told us she is so proud of us for being here in Romania, doing good things for the people. I just love her! 

Well, that's about it for this week! I hope you all have a wonderful week! I will keep you posted on what ends up happening(: 

Sora Armstrong

Us setting up the baptismal font with Angel in the back(:

Adriana surprised me with a big homemade cake! They didn't know how old I would be turning so they just stuck a huge candle in the middle haha(:

All of us at the botanical gardens(: With the cute Nelsons and amazing Felicia!(:

Our cute branch!!!(:

Me and the cute Sora Strader who I went on exchange with this week!(:

CLUJ!!!!(: The best city ever!!! In its great spring glory!(:

Happy 20th Birthday Sora Armstrong

Hey Everyone! 

Another quick, extremely busy week!(: One of the best(:

We flew into Bucharest this past week for MLC, and that was quite the adventure! We had to be at the airport at 5 am, and so we were super tired, but MLC was really great, our presentation went smoothly (even though we were freaking out because we had not a lot of time to prepare it haha), and it was fun to see some other missionaries. We flew back around 5 pm, and Sebi our investigator happened to be on the same flight as us! It was totally a blessing because we were trying to get a hold of him - and hey there he was! Just totally sittin on the same row as me haha(: and then givin us a ride home!(: #rockstar!

Saturday morning we started walking to English and it was a beautiful day out, we haven't had to wear tights or boots at all this fact it has been summer weather here. However at the end of our English class it started to POUR. We had no jackets or anything, and we had an appointment at our investigator Felicia's house. So...we walked. The Elders let us borrow a umbrella, but the rain was coming down so hard we just got soaked. Haha and on the way, a car splashed us so hardcore. Something that I thought you only see in movies ya know? haha but just sped up and we got SOAKED #hanice So we showed up at Felicia's house looking like we had just taken a shower. She was so cute and made us change into PJs (haha mine had daisies all over...bless) and she made us delicious Italian food. Anyways, we asked her if she had thought about Baptism and she said she had been praying, and that she decided it was the right path in her life. YESSSS. However, she said she wanted to wait until she went back to Italy, so maybe in a few months. We were so excited she made this decision, but sad because she hadn't committed fully. She has a friend Cristiano (possibly future husband?), and she wants him to baptize her so she wants to wait until she goes back maybe this summer. She said she knows she wants to be baptized, but just not sure when.

SO, we called President yesterday and asked him what was the best thing to do. President Ivory speaks Italian, so we thought maybe we could skype him in for a lesson and he could talk to her about her thoughts and concerns and waiting to go back to Italy. President told us he would love to do that (he's the, and that maybe he could even pay for a plane ticket for Cristiano to get here!!!! #YESSSS

THEN, last night we went over to her house to help her with computer things for work. We did that for maybe 20 minutes, and then started talking about gospel things, and we brought up the baptism date again. We told her what President Ivory told us about buying a plane ticket for Cristiano, and she broke down into tears right away and called him!! She was just overcome with gratitude and joy, telling us she knows she needs to take this step. She knows it is a good thing, and that it will bring her closer to god. SO SHE AGREED TO THE 23rd!!! I AM SO HAPPY! It's a hard feeling to describe, but knowing that someone you have been teaching, and you have been helping, has decided to take this step that will only bless their lives abundantly. I was just overcome with joy and love. I kind of got a glimpse of the love Heavenly Father has for his children, because my heart was so full. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING IN CLUJ. 

Another blessing!! Sora Nelson and Elder Nelson, a senior couple that was serving in the office in Cluj, have been sent to serve in Cluj! I have never served around a Senior Couple yet, but I am so excited! They are so so sweet, and already have invited us and Felicia over to their house for dinner. They have offered to drive us to investigators houses, and to have district meeting at their house. They will be such a strength to the Branch, it is exactly what our Branch needs right now. They are just filled with light and love for everyone they talk to. 

Also - thank you so much for all of the B-day wishes!! 20 years old.....AHHHHH! hahaha it will be good(: Funny thing too is that it is also Elder Nelsons birthday today too! haha #yesss so we are all going to go out to dinner tonight(: They're seriously the best!

I sure love each and every one of you guys!(: Thanks for all you do - Have a great week!

Sora Armstrong 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Zone Leader Competition...Oh.So.Close!

Hey Family and Friends!(:

This.week.was.crazy...that is all.

Sora Armstrong

(Alyssa's April Fools Joke) 

Ok.... just kidding, although pretty sure this was the craziest week of my entire life! I honestly believe that I have never. ever. worked so hard haha.

So last week the Zone Leaders challenged us to a little competition, and the competition was to get the most lessons in a week, and to get the most referrals. Referrals meaning meeting someone new and getting their number. Needless to say it brought out the competitive side of us a little bit haha - Sora Falkenberg and I worked SO HARD. Unfortunately, we did not win....but we were so CLOSE! We had 18 lessons and 32 referrals, and they got 22 lessons and 31 referrals. Never have I had a crazier week in my life haha. 

To give you a bit of a comparison, the week before we had 9 lessons and 8 referrals, which is about pretty average in this mission. It's actually the mission goal to have 7 lessons a week and to get at least a number a day - but man we saw miracles. We got out of our house every morning at 10 am, and we didn't get home until 9:30 pm. We didn't have time to eat lunch or dinner because we were teaching lessons, or English, or out contacting people. Sometimes it takes an hour to get somewhere in the city, and so we would just talk to people on the go on the buses and the streets. We had Zone Conference, we gave our presentation,we got asked to give another one, we had interviews with President, we had exchanges, we had 6 sisters stay at our house, we had general conference, we had English classes. We ate dinner at 10 at night haha. To say the least it was the busiest week ever - but honestly, I have never felt better(: We just gave all our heart ya know?(:

And, what was so cool was that it was also the most miracle filled week ever. Last Sunday our district fasted together for our Branch, and the miracles were seen throughout the week. The Lord placed so many new people in our paths, and it was just the coolest! Everywhere we went Sora Falkenberg and I decided  we just needed to be bold and talk to people, and we were able to meet so many new cool people. So many people we met were willing to help us with the city, with our language, want to come to church, want to hear our message. And now, Sora Falkenberg and I know our potential. We know that if we work really hard, that our results can be a lot higher than what we have seen in the past. We know that if we are bold and put our trust in the Lord, he is going to help us every step along the way, because that is exactly what we saw every day last week! 

So Zone Conference was awesome last week! I always love Zone Conference because it's always fun to see other missionaries in the zone, and to hear President speak to us. We also had a guest speaker Walter Plumb. Basically, he is this super accomplished powerhouse of a man who lived in Vietnam, and now lives in Moldova and he gave us a really moving message on how to be bold and become more like Jesus Christ.

We had our talk/presentation that we had to give at zone conference and it went way well! It was supposed to be 20 minutes, we were running low on time so it got cut down to 15 minutes, and then we were really running out of time and so President asked us to cut it down to 10 minutes ha. It was on "What Faith Is"and how we could help missionaries become better disciples of Christ. We were so relieved that it was DONE!(: haha but THEN, we get a call on Wednesday Night, from the assistants, who said that President liked our presentation so much he wants us to give another one....this Wednesday at MLC!!(:

This Wednesday we have MLC in Bucharest, which is Missionary Leadership Training. So all of the Sister Training Leaders and all of the Zone Leaders will get together in Bucharest for a conference and training session. We have to present on "How to Make Sundays Game Days", basically how we can maximize our time on Sundays. Because we live so far West, we get to take a plane to Bucharest! #yesss It will be great(: 

We also had exchanges last week, and that was a blast! Basically we switch companions for a day with the sisters in our zone, and work with them on something we feel or they feel like they need work on. Like teaching lessons, or contacting more boldly, or both. I was with cute little Sister Yost who is serving in Sibiu right now...she is honestly such a ROCKSTAR!! Like - love her! Such a great day - she is training right now so we just talked about everything going on - and she is just killin it(: 

Well, there were a lot of miracles this week and it ended incredibly with General Conference! I hope you all got a chance to listen to Conference...and if you didn't, I challenge ya to listen to them(: The messages truly are inspired and are meant for you! 

I hope you all have a great week!

Sora Armstrong

BTW....we also invited Felicia again this week to be baptized, in a solid lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ with Sora Cioban.( a solid member friend) We feel really good about the date of April 23rd, and she still hasn't decided, but she said she will pray about it and we can talk about it. She is SO CLOSE! We were all just very bold with her, and the Spirit was so strong! She knows that its right, she prays, she came to general conference, she introduced herself to everyone in the branch and comes to every activity -ahhh. If you guys could keep her in your prayers that would be amazing!(: