Monday, March 14, 2016

Nope, Not Coming Home

So plans have changed, I will be staying Moldova for the rest of my life. Joking, but if it was an option it would be very very tempting.
This week has been full of lots of sweet goodbyes. I have been showered with lots of blessings, of health and to find a beautiful husband and have lots of children. If every blessing that has been wished upon me in the last week comes I have quite a beautiful life ahead of me.
I have been asking people for advice and I have gotten an awesome range of lots of different advice. Olga Cociu told to just stay who I am and be strong, Cris told me to study accounting and that who I decide to marry will be the most important decision in my life. He also said he would like to skype with him before I make my decision. Ines told me to just be happy and do what my heart tells me to do. Nina told me to skype her. Raisa told me to come back to Moldova and to apply myself to studies. My favorite and least expected advice came from my favorite the one and only Sora Gorgos. She told me to respect my mother-in-law, to take everything she says into account and then just do whatever I think of best but to tell my Mother-in-law that I will do what she says. She also said to keep whatever happens between me and my husband between us. I was expecting some great gospel advice like read your scriptures or always go to church and I got marriage advice! It was super funny. But hey it was pretty sound advice 

 Last night we were with Cris and Ines. I asked them how their lives have changed because of this gospel. Ines got this huge smile on her face and she said "we are more positive. We know our future is so bright because of our knowledge". It was beautiful. The declaration the we are "The Most Positive Mission on the Planet" has become more than a slogan for me. It has become my motto. It is something that I will apply for the rest of my life. It was a huge factor in the conversion of Cris and Ines, it turned them to this gospel. This gospel is a positive thing, it allows us to hold onto our hope for change. Being positive is not easy thing. It forces us to dispel fear and doubt when it would take a lot less energy to just wallow in them. It pushes us to turn to our Savior to allow his atonement to change us, even though that process of change requires us stretching ourselves. I have realized that while it is not easy, it is the most important thing. As we press forward with a positive attitude, we press forward with faith knowing that as we do all we can, God will make up the rest. Everything about the gospel pushes us to be positive. As we do the little things, as we rely on the little things like attacking the day, saying our sincere prayers, fasting, and serving others our outlook has to become more positive. We become convinced of the truths of this gospel and they give us a positive attitude. This positivity will change Romania and Moldova. I have seen it change the lives of my friends here as they have chosen to accept the positive change that the gospel can bring into their lives. I have also seen the sadness that returns when they choose to reject it. It is our job as the Lord's servant here to declare this positive message to everyone we come into contact with. In turn as we lose ourselves declaring this positive message it solidifies in us. It becomes a way of life for us. No matter where I am for the rest of my life I will declare this message. The gospel of Jesus Christ is positive. It is true and it will change us if we choose to let it.
I know that God loves the people of Romania and Moldova. I have prayed everyday to feel it for them and He has blessed me with the energy and ability to serve them. My heart is breaking as I leave, but I move forward with a positive attitude knowing that His plan and His way is always so much better then mine.
See ya soon and much love,
Sora Armstrong

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pictures from Moldova

Can I Extend?

Buna, Buna, Buna!
I hear that you all want to hear my romanian. I might just give my
whole farewell talk in it. That would be fun. I also have not spoken
in front more than about 40 people for the last 18 months so if about
three fourths of the ward could be sick that would be nice. Anyway I
am not home yet so let's talk about miracles!

On wednesday we met this ADORABLE little 15 year old girl named
Marina. I have known for awhile she has been at activities and stuff
because she has a friend who is learning about the church also. We had
tried to meet a few times but it just didn't work out. She was at
church last Sunday and I was so stoked to see her. We actually got to
meet this week. We gave her a Book of Mormon and when we asked her if
she had read it she looked at us and was like this book is a miracle.
Then she proceeded to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon. I love
when my people start bearing testimony. So some background on Marina
she is from the south of Moldove from this community that speaks
russian and turkish. No I do not speak either of those languages. She
alos gets by pretty well in english so we have been doing our lessons
in english. We wanted her to be able to express herself more openly so
we started our lessons with Nina and Sevghi. So about half of the
lesson is in russian and I have no idea what is going on but nina and
sevhgi are incredible teachers so it is okay. She is also studying
here in Chisinau. She is a cello prodigy and played I am a Child of
God in sacrament yesterday adn it was so beautiful I almost cried. As
long as the spirit is still there it works out. We had an incredible
lesson with Marina about God's plan for us on the earth and she
started bearing testimony again of how much this gospel means to her.
How she is so grateful for it and how she wants to use it to bless
other people. The spirit kinda wacked Sora Nichols and I in the face
and we ended up inviting her to baptism. There was this sweet sweet
spirit in the room and she agreed. Then Satan went to work. Her
parents got pretty upset about it and she ended getting a pretty
serious injury during PE. They make kids learn how to vault here in
PE! Not a good idea. So she might have to go home to the south of
moldova earlier so we won't be able to see her as often. Man that guy
is good. BUT we are better. I know that God has a specific plan for my
little girl and that He will make His will happen. We just have to do
all we can. But Marina is literally my favorite. She has such an old
soul and just gets it.

So last night we went and visited Sora Cociu for her birthday, we
surprised her and she was so excited. They were kinda having a party
and had this music blasting in their front yard. So I decided to bust
out some of my signature dance moves. She thought it was hilarious! I
showed her how dad always tells me to "just keep it here" (quoting
hitch) She was like no! You gotta be loose. Then she pulled these
things called clatite filled with cheese from the oven and just kept
on feeding us. We were there with the other soras and whenever she had
her back turned Sora Smullin was glaring at me and was like we better
leave before she feeds us. But I did not want to leave so we just kept
on talking and laughing and Sora Smullin was mouthing at me "I am
gonna kill you" So I took the plate and was like I think Sora Smullin
wants more. haha she was not excited about that. It was a beautiful
night. The weather was not that cold we danced and laughed and she
just kept on thanking us for coming. I just love moments like that. I
love how the Lord calls us specifically. That call includes our
personality. I love this culture. I can be 100% myself with these
people. I can be sassy and they still love me. But then we canget
serious and have a beautiful conversation. I am just so grateful to be
where I am. To be with the people who I am with. This time has been
such a blessed time in my life. Honestly, I do not want to leave. But
the Lord has this way of catapulting us out of our comfort zones as
soon as we are comfortable.

My people I hope everyone has a great week!
Sora Armstrong

Nu se poate


This morning as we were walking to internet I was looking around and I
was just like wow this place is beautiful. It took me back to my first
day in Ploiesti, at that point I was not looking around saying this
place is beautiful, I was saying uhhh can I go home? I hate that that
is how it was at the beginning but it is true. I had to fight to
develop a love for these incredible countries. But now every time we
leave our bloc the beauty of this city hits me. It is amazing how my
perception of beauty has so drastically changed in 18 months. The
atonement of Jesus Christ is real my friends it is not just for
washing away our sins it is for the changing of our hearts. I think I
have probably talked about that a lot but it has been one of the most
consistent lessons of my mission.

Okay now for this week, Life is good my friends, it is good to be a missionary.
We went on exchanges this week so I was with Sora Smullin again and it
was so much fun. We went and visited our good friend Olga. We had this
awesome lesson of the importance of church attendance. Sora Smullin
shared a rally cool personal experience that hit Olga pretty hard. She
was so into the lesson and was hanging on our every word. The spirit
was super strong. Carolina her daughter was being so cute just playing
by herself and laughing and talking. We all got so into the lesson
that we did not notice when Carolina started taking her tooth brush
dipping it in the indoor potted plant they have and brushing her teeth
with the dirt from the plant! It was HILARIOUS. Sora Smullin was like
"uhh uh oh" We all turned around and Carolina smiles at us this dirt
filled smile! So cute!

Then we had another super cool lesson with our dear friend Ekaterina.
We were talking about the restoration and how sometimes we we got
through our own "apostasies" Ekaterina likened it to the the Iron Rod.
I asked her what happens when you let go of the rod? Ekaterina eyes
got really big and she says get back as fast as you can! It was so
funny. I love these people thay are all so unique. The other day we
were saying our closing prayer with this same lady Ekaterina, she is
saying the prayer and I am leaning over in my seat kind of bending
forward and I feel this thing come super close to my head. So I open
my eyes to see what is going on and while Ekaterina is praying she is
waving her hands around like she does when she has a normal
conversation! She is an artist what are you gonna do?

I don't know if I have told you guys this yet but President Ivory
brought this man over from the United States to work here for a year.
To work with small businesses and connect them to larger ones in the
states. His name is Walter Plumb. Whenever we meet people that we
think could be helped by him we take them out to dinner with
President Plumb and he has this incredible way of bringing everything
back to the gospel. So last night I found myself sitting at this table
with Walter and Peggy Plumb, my companion, and this Italian that owns
a web design company here in Moldova discussing religion and the need
for a church. Oh, did I mention we were at the nicest restraurant in
Chisinau in a special room, that had a special menu and its own
private coat check? Yeah and President Plumb is a very successful
business man and past mission president. Yep, I was sitting there and
I was just like how in the world did I end up in literally the coolest
mission on the planet. President Plumb and I team taught the
restoration. We really focused on the church that Christ set up while
he was on the earth and how that same church is on the earth today. I
realized how grateful I am for the perfect organization of our church.
Because of the priesthood power. We can trust leaders.We have a
promise from God that his called leaders will not lead us a stray.
Riccardo (our Italian friend) cannot bring himself trust organized
religion because of what he saw his church leaders doing in Italy. It
was so sad to me, he feels like he has to figure out his faith alone
because of the terrible examples of organized religion he has grown up

My friends Christ established a church while he was on this earth. We
can read about that church from the new testament. We can identify the
necessary parts as we study. Then we can get down on our knees and
ask God if that church could possibly be on the earth again. Through
the Holy Ghost it will be confirmed to us that YES! God loves us He
wants us to rejoice in that church, ot be taught through that church.
Then to enjoy the blessings that will be with us ETERNALLY as we take
part in ordinances such as baptism done through the power of God that
is on earth again. If you already know this to be true then SHARE it
this week, if you do not this to be true then I beg you to study it
out and find out if it is true. This knowledge has shaped my life.
Riccardo asked me last night if I woke up today and I knew everything
I told him was absolutely true, if I would live my life differently.
That question kind of hit me. I do know it is true and because of that
I have to live my life differently.

I hope everyone has an awesome week!
Sora Armstrong

PS I also met the CEO of Cafe Rio and his wife on Monday at Zone
Conference, they are super cool! I told him to open one up in
Temecula. One of my favorite quotes from them was
"we have the power to kill energy or create it, so let's create it)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Life is a Gift!

Hey fam bam!
I hope everyone is doing well. Are you guys just stoked on life? You should be, life is a gift. Someone told me that on a bus this week. (the life is a gift part not the stoked part that word does not exist in Romanian unfortunately)
Life is a gift, especially when you are in Moldova! We have some awesome stuff heading our way. This country has so much potential. It is at a critical point in its history right now and I am so grateful I get to be here to be apart of it. 
So this week we flew down to Bucuresti (we had to leave our apartment at 4 in the MORNING) but it was worth it. I got to see all my peoples! We also had some awesome meetings with President and Sora Ivory. I love how fast paced mission life is. As soon as we as a mission get good at something, President Ivory introduces something else for us to practice and push ourselves. This week we were introduced to a new way of teaching the Restoration. We use these cards with picture of Christ and stuff like that on them. We used them a few times this week and our friends loved them. They would take the pictures out of our hands and hold them and then when we would start discussing something else they would go back to another picture and use it to answer our question. It was super cool. I love how well the Lord knows the people here. He knows what they need and He lets us know what we need to do to help them. 
We had an incredible lesson this week with Raisa. She has been reading EVERYTHING we have been giving her. Her thirst for knowledge is beautiful. And her heart is so sincere. She testified to us of the truthfulness of the restoration. It was so cool we would ask her a question and then she would teach us, we asked her if she believed all these things she was saying and she just stopped. Then she said "these things feel so close to my soul, they have to be true" It was seriously one of the top ten moments of my mission! She fasted with us on sunday too nad taught herself about tithing anad let us know that tithing is a very good thing and we should always pay our tithing. I was like "you are so right Raisa I am going to pay it tomorrow" (talking about fast offerings) I love her so much!
On Sunday President Ivory was here with his friend Walter Plum who will be doing some business here in Moldova. We had some awesome meetings with him. We talked a lot about the stability of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what the gospel will never change. Its principles are constant. It is the only thing in this world that we can rely on. So many people here are looking for that stability. They are starved for security and purity. There are just so many cloudy things going on all around us but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pure and so beautifully clear. I am so greatful for the rock that it is in my life. One of the coolest things about this rock is that we can continue to build it up. One of the members in the russian branch bore this beautiful testimony about how his little girl looked up at him and said "papa" for the first time (now you are all thinking I understand russian, I don't it was translated for us) He talked about how amazing it was to hear her say that for the first time, he even remembered the exact date. Then he related it to how our Father in Heaven must feel when we turn to him for the first time and we say "God, or Father" One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is hearing people say their first prayer. Hearing them talk to their Father in Heaven for the first time. This tender spirit of love fills room. We can have that experience everytime we pray. So I invite you guys this week to take some time and make your prayers conversations. Maybe you haven't prayed in awhile or maybe you prayer ten times a day. It does not matter your Father in Heaven is waiting for you to let Him know that you wnat his influence in your life. There is power in kneeling prayers! 

I love you guys, I hope I don't ever go too missionary on you all!
Sora Armstrong


Sunday, February 7, 2016

O sa le bat

Hello my peoples!
This week was sick as usual. We kicked it off with some Hot Chocolate conacting where I am pretty sure I experienced a minor case of hypothermia . But it was super fun! We were just asking people if they had ever heard of the mormons and wow do people have some interesting ideas... so that is always fun.
Then we had some super fun lessons. I love Moldova because you never what to expect during a lesson. The people here are just so passionate about everything and they are also 100% themselves no matter what. They do not feel like they need to act a certain way in front of certain people they own who they are and it works for them. 
For example, we were having this incredible lesson with our mom friend Olga. She was quoting the conference talks we had given her to read and the Book of Mormon. She had super cool insightful questions and we were having an awesome conversation when her baby girl who is walking in out of the room trips and nails her head. Olga's husband then scoops up baby Carolina and leaves without saying a word, just walks out with a screaming 1 year old. olga just shrugs her shoulders and we keep talking. He then comes back a couple minutes later without Carolina. Olga looks at him and is like "where is our little girl" He smiles and says "I left her at the neighbors" we all laughed about that. Then we gave Olga an overview of the Plan of Salvation lesson and when we mentioned that we could be with our families forever, there was a physical change in her, she perked up. It was so cute and so we are STOKED to teach her the lesson this week!
Then we were over at our other cute families house another Olga and her husband and their 3 girls. The night started out with Sophia the 3 year old playing the piano for us and then her sister telling her it was ugly so then she went into hysterics. Then we started eating dinner and the girls finished so they went and started playing and we are in the middle of answering Olga's question about the Great and Abominable Chruch (that was fun in romanian) and we hear this yelliong coming from the other room. A couple seconds later Sophia marches in a grabs a broom and her dad is like "No put that down I know what you are thinking" And her mom is like "what are you going to do with that?" and Sophia yells " O sa le bat!" which means I am going to hit them! Both of her parents were like "uh uh you put that down" There then proceeded to be a power struggle for about 5 minutes which resulted in sophia dropping the broom and saying fine I will get them with my own hands! It was hilarious! Probably one of my favorite moments in Chisinau so far. I felt like I was at family dinner at Grandma's and Henry was going after wi-fi and Cameron with a broom but it was all in beautiful romanian! 

I just love this work. I love how God takes care of our people no matter what. This last transfer we have experienced quite a few speed bumps and I have just been struggling with not feeling like I am going my full speed. But last sunday I called up a few of our friends, a few of them told me they had been reading from the Book of Mormon, others set up to meet with us. It was just cool to see that the spirit is working in the hearts of these people. It reminded how little we actually do as missionaries. As long as we are giving it our all the spirit will testify into theiur hearts. Another thing I was reminded of this week was the powerful changing effect the atonement can have on a heart. My friends and family I challenge you guys this week to pick something that you feel like you need to be better at. Maybe it is scripture study, maybe it is saying more kind words, it can be whatever. Pick that thing and then pray to Heavenly Father and tell him you want to strengthen this thing in your life, tell him how you are going to strengthen it then ask for the atonement of Christ to enter into your heart and change it so that you can change, so that you can become. Open your hearts to him and He will change you, I promise.

Cu drag,
Sora Armstrong


Monday, January 25, 2016

COLD, Protests, Agents

Hey, Hey, Hey!
Guess what it is still cold!? Winter is a very big thing in Moldova. It is adorable though, all the parents pull their kids around on sleds. Which apparently sledding is a major part of everyone's childhood and I missed out big time on that one. Or at least that is what EVERY Moldovan we meet tells me.
This week was solid. I am STOKED on the Restoration. We had an INCREDIBLE lesson with my good friend Ekaterina and a member from Orhei that comes into the city to participate in a BYU-I course we teach. She had gotten to the church early so we invited her to sit in on a lesson. This girl met the church through a peace corps worker a few years back, she has one of the most beautiful understandings of the gospel I have seen. So we watched the Restoration video with them (if you ever want to feel the spirit watch the restoration video) before we started the video we asked them to think about how the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ has changed their lives. After the video I asked Alina, that same question. She proceeded to bear the MOST BEAUTIFUL testimony I have every heard! She connected the restoration to her coming to understand the gospel of the Jesus Christ. She said because Joseph Smith sincerely prayed to find his answer she now has been able to develop her faith in Christ. Through that faith she has been able to repent and can feel at peace with her life. She then bore her testimony about the sacrament and how through the priesthood, because that bread and water is blessed by a worthy man holding the authority of God, that bread and water become so much more. She said through taking of the sacrament each week she is able to endure to the end. It was one of those lessons where I was like "Yep I am here because I need to be taught not because I need to teach." It was awesome!!! Like literally I was in awe.
Also, fun fact there are protests happening here in Chisinau, the government has been doing some shady stuff and the people are fed up with it. The other day I was on an Exchange with Sora Kitchen and we ended up in Centru which is where they are happening. There were all these people standing outside the main government building, chanting and waving flags around. Honestly, that is all the do I kind of wanted to actually show them how to protest. No one even seemed very upset. Sora Kitchen and I decided that it probably was not a great spot to be so we tried to catch a bus and ended up right in the middle of a giant march that was happening. I was just thinking "wow Sora Kitchen is going to call President and tell him her Sister Training Leader took her into the very middle of a protest march" So I grabbed Sora Kitchen and we got out of there quick and then who calls me as soon as we get out of the march? PRESIDENT! I was like "uh, Hi President" Sora Kitchen was dying. Then a couple days of later we are at the church and the march comes right on by the church! So from the safety of our hiding spots behind the blinds we took pictures!

Well my people that's the week. I love you guys have an awesome one!
Sora Armstrong