Friday, December 19, 2014

December Pictures

Joy in serving others.

Right now I am in country that 6 months ago I knew nothing about, and the only reason i ever thought about this country is because one of the Weasely brothers trained dragons here. two months ago I arrived in this country, I knew about six people in the entire country and I could communicate with no one. I felt pretty alone that first night here in Ploiesti I was sleeping in the same room as someone that I had met that day and all i knew about her was that she was Salvadorian and apparenlty the best trainer in the whole entire mission. Well the part about Sora Barrera has since proven true she is THE BEST. But that feeling of lonliness is far far gone. First off how can I be lonely when I have Jesus Christ at my side,everyday, every step i take he is there walking with me and sometimes carrying me. I have never felt closer to my Savior. I wonder why that is, why now when I am more concerned about helping others grow closer to the savior do I feel so close to him? Therein lies the answer. For whosoever shall lose his life in my name shall find it. Every prayer Sora Barrera and I say includes the names the Romanian people. We pray for those we teach individually as well as for the Romanian people as a whole. When we stop looking to others to bring us joy and we started searching in ourselves to be a light for others our joy is multplied. The Romanian people are incredible examples in finding joy in others. Everyone says how communisim has made them so closed and gaurded but everyday I see them not hesitating to serve each other. On buses when an old lady has all her goods from the pița that she cannot lift onto the bus at least five people dive to help her then they all grab her arms and heave her into the bus. Whenever romanians speak with each other they are always making physical contact holding each others hands grasping each others arms. i think because of years of oppresion where material things could not bring them the joy (in quotations but Romanian keyboards do not have quotations) that we in the states are use to. They turned to each other to provide joy for each other. It really is a beautiful culture to have the opportunity to be apart of.
Now a story about finding joy in others hmmmm well this past week we have been asking everybody if there is anything we can do to serve them for christmas. We asked mariana our kind of investigator, mariana works everyday in a magezine and gets paid next to nothing. yet all she asked for us to do for her was to pray for her family. She even started crying she said if my family is healthy than that is all I need. We were willing to help her clean to make her brownies to bring her flowers and all she asked for was the health of her loved ones. That was so humbling for me to see. What if that was all that was on our christmas lists? The health and happiness of those that we love, for me this christmas that is pretty much it I do not expect a normal christmas morning as I have been used to in the past but I do expect this Christmas to be one of the best Christmases of my life so far. Mariana taught me that day well she reminded me that there is no greater joy than the joy we feel when we are in the service and surrounded by the ones we love most. I have felt this joy in my life before when the whole family gets together and we sit at grandma s table and talk and laugh. But I have never felt the joy so consistently as I am feeling it now. And I am not a perfect missionary but everyday I do my best to keep my thoughts focused on the people we are serving and we are teaching and those feelings of lonliness that engulfed me that first night are replaced by feelings of joy that I cannot describe.
People Updates: Roberta did not meet with us again this week so frustrating neither did Familia Moise. They said they would call us when they can meet. I hate it when people say that. We found a lot more people to teach this week and I am pretty sure this week is going to be pretty nuts trying to fit all of our lessons in and stuff. Irina called us yesterday and broke up with us. It was my first official break up and it was rough. She said that she does not think God would make us do anything hard or give us any hardships, so our religion cannot be true. We were so sad we ate the almonds grandma sent us and and some chocolate to get over it. It is just so frustrating because she was so flipping close. We could see how Satan worked on her. It is scary being here I have realized how much power the adversary really does have. he can take the smallest things and use them to turn us away from our heavenly father. We have to be so vigilent because he is working on all of us at all times and we if we are not paying attention to our spiritual well being we will fall.
This week we did some creative contacting I hope I make Grandmother Parkinson proud. We made a cake and took it to our next door neighbor a cute older lady and shared a lesson about christmas with her. She loved it she kept on calling us her girls and said whenever we want to come back we are welcome. She has a son that has a family close by so we are going to try and meet them as well. the cake we made was way good too and I kind of invented a new form of cream cheese whip cream. I was pretty proud of my baking skills. Sora Pasol came to church this week! I was so excited to see them so that was great. Life here in Romania is good time is picking up fast and i am not ready for it. the language is still hard there are days that feel great then days where i am like wow is it my first day in the country? But I think I just need to learn patience. the experiences i am having are truly amazing and right now I do not want to be anywhere else! it is amazing watching and feeling the transforming effects of the atonement of jesus christ take place in our hearts. i am so very blessed to be where I am, serving the lords Jesus Christ!
I love you all have a wonderful Christmas Season!

Sora Armstrong

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Brittany's Peoples

This is the sora that gave up coffee, she busied us all week on the phone which means ignored our calls we did not hear anything from her. Then we called her on Sunday and she was like oh yeah I was just super busy but we can meet this week. That is super frustrating but her husband is not back. So this week we are going to talk about how this gospel needs to take priority in her life. It just feels like people should understand that this is eternal life we are trying to help you out with but sometimes we just gotta connect the dots for people. We are praying for her to hear our message with an open heart.
We couldn't meet with Roberta either! Her phone was off all week and then when she could meet we couldn't but we did meet with her Grandma so that was interesting. People always think we are Adventist's for some reason so it always takes a little bit of time to clear up who we are with older people. But it was a good lesson and of we can get both of them coming to church they could strengthen each other.
Christina the baker
She is freaking great. We experienced a miracle with her this week! We got her to come to lunch with us on her day off. That morning we had studied in preach my gospel the three basic truths people need to know to start to form a testimony. Then while we were at lunch Christina who normally shuts us down if we start talking about God starting asking the exact questions preach my gospel said they needed to know. About Joseph Smith about Jesus Christ and about our purpose. THEN the miracles keep coming as we are leaving she asks where were going and we said the church the restaurant we had chosen to eat at had been strategically chosen because it is so close to the church. She said she would walk us there at the gate she tried to leave but I grabbed her arm and we kind of dragged her in but she came in with us!!!! It was kind of funny because Christina is gorgeous and all the elders were in the foyer and their jaws kinda dropped when we walked in with her. We showed her around the church showed her we were pretty normal and she liked it. We had set a goal on sunday to get her to walk into the church and we did! We were so pumped.
Sora Chirila's pies 
The crust is normal just like America it is flour sugar lemon zest butter, the biggest difference is they cook them on plates not in pie tins so they aren't as deep. It was super funny to bake with her. 
Singing at the Embassy
I love being around other missionaries. There is an interesting group here, lots of fun personalities we are always laughing. Elder Degraw, Sora Ghi and Elder Brundage did this awesome piece of love like a river and amazing grace it was so beautiful I felt the spirit in the American embassy in Bucharest, Romania. It was a pretty cool experience. Sora Trebas sang Emmanuel and killed it of course. It was weird hearing so much English.

MOM I found my family!!!!!! We went bloc knocking with Elder Baielli and Elder Allphin they took one building and we took the other. First seven doors no one answers. Eighth door this man opens up with tatoos we start giving our door approach and he says de unde sunteti we say america and he says come on in. We were SHOCKED I wish I had a picture of our faces it was so great. We walk in he has a wife and a 6 year old boy. We testified of Jesus Christ and we asked them if they had one question for God what would it be. From that we found out that Sora Moise that is their name is sick with multiple scolrosis. We testified of the atonement literally I smiled the entire time. We knelt in prayer with their FAMILY and the spirit was there. It was INCREDIBLE. We are going back to teach them today, Fratele Moise was so receptive he was cracking jokes but was sincerely answering and paying attention. It was a miracle finding this family. I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ can help them endure the trials that come from Sora Moise's sickness, I know that this gospel will strengthen their family and that Heavenly Father has prepared them to hear this message at this time. 

Life is good here in Romania, the city is decked out in Christmas lights I have never seen anything like it, all the buses play Christmas music and people are starting to make Sarmale. I am so pumped to spend Christmas here and learn about their traditions. Oh also transfers! Elder Baielli's going home which is so so so sad and Elder Brundage is an A.P. he will do awesome but we will miss him. So we are getting two new Elder's here in Ploiesti and Sora B will hit her year mark here in Ploiesti she has been here since her third transfer how crazy is that. 
Also I built a snow fort for the first time. It was so much fun and my coat kept me nice and warm. I am so blessed to spend another transfer here in this great city with my amazing trainer. I still have so much to learn from her! 

Love you to the moon and back!!
Sora Armstrong

November 30, 2014

Hello Everyone,
Roberta's (who we meet with her once or twice a week) grandma tried to give me boots last week because we have the same size feet. She is praying everyday and writing in her journal, but we are planning on having at DTR with her about baptsim (DTR means Determing The Relationship). We need to figure out where her head is at and what her goal's are. We only meet with her, so I don't think her family is very interested but her grandma might be. Irina, the one that gave up coffee, cancelled our appointment yesterday and said she wouldn't have anytime to meet with us this week so that is not good. Her husband might be back from Germany so we have got to get in touch with her and figure that out. We did not meet with the taxi driver but we are going to go track her down. We did start meeting with a woman from English classes though I was actually the one to set up the appointment in Romanian so that was fun and I was so desperate to teach a lesson I just would not accept no for an answer. We got a return appointment from her so that is good. On Saturday night, we meet with Sora Pasol and just broke it down for her and told her how important it is that we come to church and how she needs to set that exaple for her daughter. in her prayer after the lesson she asked for forgiveness and committed to coming to church to Heavenly Father Sunday comes around it snows Sora Pasol doesn't freaking come so FRUSTRATING this is eternal salvation we are talking about come on humans pull it together. So yeah this week was a little rough teaching wise but I am happy Sora Barrera is great I am learning that my way is not the only right way to do things I know you have been trying to teach me that for 18 years but I am finally figuring things out. Thanksgiving dinner was incredible the sweet potatoes were great and the salads were amazing. I love you guys so much. Make sure Owie does his reading. Tell Luke I think he is stud! Oh and I love that talk by Elder Anderson we share it with a lot of less actives who need a reminder of the restoration. Isn't interesting who the devil knows that of he can shake our testimonies of Joseph Smith he can shake our very foundations of faith. You don't see a lot of negative stuff on the internet about other parts of the gospel that aren't so critical like fulfilling church calling but type in Joseph Smith in Google and Satan attacks you. That just shows how true it is there was another talk about Joseph Smith that said look for the biggest dust cloud and you find the most truth.
I love you all to the moon and back!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pictures from the adventures of Sora Armstrong

Sora Armstrong LOVES peanut butter

Brittany went to Bucharest for Thanksgiving and got into the Turkey Bowl...of course. See red sweater & BYU sweat pants

This is a candid shot of Brittany emailing everyone....

Sora Armstrong preaching the Gospel

Brittany on exchanges in Sibiu, Romania

Sora Armstrong & Sora Barrera

Brittany and her companion, Sora Barrera, with two members of the Ploiesti Branch

Brittany isn't sad in this picture. We always joked that she was "Grumpy" from Snow White, so she is just playing the part....very well.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

Happy 50th Anniversary Gma and Grandpa!
Okay so our investigator that gave up coffee does not have a baptism date because she is waiting for the man that she has been living with for 25 years and has two children with to get back from Germany where he is working. But she is incredible. Her faith just makes me smile, that is really the only way I can describe it. She has questions and does her research but in her heart she knows it is true and she is willing to do whatever it takes to prepare for baptism. It is a humbling path to walk with someone sometimes I just ask Heavenly Father "are you sure you want me to be the one doing this?" I just feel like I don't even understand the atonement and yet that is what I have to help this woman understand. Heavenly Father loves his missionaries and he knows my inadequacies. I know that I am not the one doing the actual teaching so even if I do mess up the Holy Ghost has my back. 
Okay yesterday was probably one of the best days of my mission. We left the apartment a little early to print out some conference talks at the church then we headed for Roberta's home, our thirteen year old  investigator that we are doing personal progress with. Roberta has this dog it is a mix of all the mean dog breeds like Rottweiler etc all put into one dog so basically it is evil. It is normally changed to a heavy object and everytime we walk past I think wow i am glad that dog is chained up. yesterday it was not. We walk into thier yard thing don't think american front yard think lots of mud and trash and stuff and the dog is roaming around. I was terrified Sora Barrera and I just stopped in our tracts. Well it must thought I was a threat because it starts sniffing towards and JUMPS!!! It attacked me from my left side I went to kind of hit it away and bit 
my wrist. The bite just left some marks on my skin 
though nothing crazy and then it walks away like no big deal so I'm like okay now I will just book it for the building so I sprint towards the door not looking at the dog and the dog sprints at me. Sora Barrera screams and I go sprinting into Roberta's apartment type home I beat the dog to the door and Roberta's grandma went out and tied it up. Sora Barrera told me to never do that ever again. I though it was hilarious. Then we had an incredible lesson with Roberta about the power of prayer and faith. Then we headed for Sora Violeta's villa. She is a less active that we visit every week that has actually been coming to church which is awesome she just lives kind of far. So my feet froze literally I lost feeling in them at 11:30 in the morning and did not regain feeling until we were on the train to Bucharest at 6:00 that night. Anyway as we were leaving Sora Violeta's I ate it on a patch of ice. There is ice all over Ploiesti now which is sad 
because it means no more running... except from dogs. Anyway I have never really experienced ice on the ground so I fell right on my bum and I have a gnarly bruise. Then we went and taught another super cute investigator that is 26 and works in bakery she is awesome but terrified of church so we are working through that. Then we went to Sora Chirela's home and she showed us how to make apple pie and she feed us dinner and she gave us two desserts. Basically I never want to leave Ploesti and here is why my day was amazing. Yes I got bit by a dog, yes I slipped on ice, yes I couldn't feel my feet for the majority of the day but I was so HAPPY. I felt this joy that nothing could quench. That joy is Christ our Savior. I am his representative right now and no amount of ice or dogs can take the joy that comes from serving him away. The church is doing some INCREDIBLE campaigns starting tomorrow. SHARE them!!!! Share it through facebbok share it 
through the hash tag on insta share it with your words and ACTIONS!!! And I promise this holiday season will take on a whole new meaning for you.
FAM BAM you are incredible I am so grateful for each and everyone of your examples. Thank you and thank Heavenly Father for our family. 
I love you all. 
Sora Armstrong

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What is up my peoplesssss?!

This week was so packed and crazy and amazing I am going to break it down day by day for you.

We went and visited the first family ever to be baptized in Ploiesti. She is incredible she fed us gogosi which is basically donuts. We got fed so much this week just lots of little Romanian sweets. Seriously I think they sent the wrong Armstrong to Romania this is Luke's spot it has delicious apples and everyone feeds you donuts. There are also always people playing basketball. President Ivory told an Elder in my district to join a local league. Maybe you should start working on your Romanian Luke. Anyway back to Tuesday we visited a less active too she lives in this gypsy area so that was fun and very interesting to see. it is a bunch of random rooms connected by tin roofs. She asked us to sing hymns with her. There was a little six year old in the room with us and she was laughing at us because we were so bad. It was rough I cannot sing to save my life and I didn't even know what we were singing because it was in Romanian and then Sora Barrera forgot the tune and the lady we were visiting didn't know what a half note was so it was just great and super funny but she liked it so ce se fac?
I ate chicken hearts. Yes I am still alive my stomach has been upset with me the last couple of days but we are working through it. We stopped by another less active member's home, the people that came to church last week, the Pasols. I think I told you about them she has a daughter and me and her daughter held hands on the way to primary. Anyway we stopped by their apartment just to give a quick message and we ended up having lunch. There was a lot of bread as there always is with Romanians and then Ciorba. Which is basically broth noodles sometimes vegetables and then meet. This time the meet was chicken hearts. The bread is what got me through. Then we later on that day we met with Ana and Roberta. I always get super excited with Ana and Roberta because they remind me of the Young Women back home. I can just feel how much God loves these two incredible girls and I just want them to know how much this gospel can bless their lives. Here's the problem when I get excited my Romanian makes no sense what so ever. So I will say something with a big ol' smile and both their heads just turn to Sora Barrera then she clarifies and we laugh so it's all good. I have such an amazing trainer.
Okay now the week really starts getting good! We had Zone Conference in Bucharest. It was so freaking incredible. The Elder in our district that goes home after this transfer looked at me and said I was so lucky I had my whole mission ahead of me and man do I know it. Elder Kearon came and spoke to us. He is a member of the 70 with the sweetest British accent. I felt like I was listening to my Harry Potter tapes. It also kept on using the word Glorious and now it is my favorite word. 
I learned so much from him. First off we could just feel the love he has for us. Even when he was kind of being strict and getting on us about certain things we could still feel his love. Some of my favorite quotes were when talking about the morning and how we can utilize that time "If you drift into the day, you will drift through it." I loved that I do not have time to be drifting through my day none of us do. Heavenly Father has things that he needs you and me to accomplish and if we are just drifting we cannot accomplish those things! The other quote was when he was complimenting us on rising the numbers of this mission "Be proud, but for goodness sake do not be satisfied." I love, love, love, that quote. It is so easy to get into the mindset of "I'm here aren't I isn't that enough?" No it is not enough! We have got to attack each day with vigor, just like a practice or a work out just showing up to the gym is not going to make us stronger, it is when we push ourselves and fight through the resistance that we begin to become who our Heavenly Father needs us to be. 
Afterwards as Elder Kearon was leaving I thanked him for taking the time from his family to come council us. He asked us how long I had been here and when I said three weeks tears came to his eyes and then to mine he took my hand and just said "Bless your heart, thank you, thank you so much" It was a really tender, cool experience.
ANNNND to make the day even more amazing I got to see Sora Trebas and Sora Routson! The MTC peeps it was kind of like seeing family after a long time it was so much fun to hang out with them annnnd the senior couples made Texas Sheet Cake for dessert so basically I have already had my Christmas. It was a wonderful wonderful day.
I felt that missionary joy that people try to describe but never can. That joy that makes it so missionaries never want to go home. We had our last lesson with Mirela because she is moving to London to find a job. We watched the Joseph Smith restoration video. After Mirela sat very close to both of us and said in English I feel like Joseph, this video was an answer to my prayers, I will read the Book of Mormon and now I know that i just need to pray to receive an answer! I had no doubt in my mind that Mirela will be baptized. Unfortunately, it will be in London but when she said that it was just like "yes this is why I am here, there are people ready for this gospel" It was such a peaceful beautiful feeling. I plan feeling that way a lot here in Romania because people are ready to hear the gospel so I might not come home mom sorry this feeling is way too good to leave behind.
We had English class today, it was hilarious. We tried to play charades but Romanians cannot grasp the concept of charades at all. At one one point I was acting out running and one of our eternal English students a cute older mad named Ioan started chasing me around the table because he thought that was part of the game. It was super funny. 
Then we went and helped a little nine year old boy with his homework, I felt like I was back home helping Owen it was weird. They live in this way cool house that looks unfinished from the outside but is all tiled and warm and colorful and the inside. It is kind of like a fortress way cool. His grandma made us these chocolate cake things. Here is the problem with Romanians. You cannot say no if all of the sweet things are not eaten off the plate they will not let you say a closing prayer so I have to run extra hard in the mornings. Then Saturday night Irina called us and said she prayed and she received an answer that she needs to be BAPTIZED!!!!! WOOOHOOOO Irina is so incredible. She said she knows there is a lot of preparation she has to do and she knows she needs to figure out her marriage situation but she knows that Baptism is very important.
Okay so I got to meet two general authorities in one week no big deal. President Ivory and his family brought Elder Fingerly to the Ploiesti branch on Sunday. Elder Fingerly is an area 70 I think. Ellis Ivory spoke about Jabari Parker and integrity. When Ellis said "drafted to the Milwaukee Bucks" his translator was not quite sure how to say that but it was cute talk. Then Sora Ivory gave an incredible talk about things Elder Kearon had spoken to us about. Sora Ivory is one of the most charitable I know she is so incredible. I am so blessed to have her as an example. She also had advent calendars made for the entire mission not with chocolate but with little activities to do each day. So cute. Then President Ivory spoke without a translator in Romanian. He is an incredible human being. He spoke about member missionary work then Elder Fingerly spoke about how a temple was built in East germany before west because of the diligence and hard work of the members. Then President Ivory met with Sora Barrera and I and Irina again he taught her a lesson all in Romanian. He answered her questions he showed her pictures from his own mission he basically geared her up to set a date it was wow I cannot even describe it. Watching a man like President Ivory preach the gospel was such a cool experience. I am so so blessed to have the leadership I do. President I vory expects a lot out of us but he walks the walk, he works right along with us.

Amazing things are happening here in Romania. This week has gotten me so pumped about missionary work. I know that God loves his children here on earth and that He knows each of us individually.
Va iubesc!!!!!
Sora Armstrong

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halloween in Ploiesti

My Fellow Americans
How is everything in the States? Is everybody still eating Halloween candy? Romania is wow. That is really all I have to say. I have truly began to develop a love for the people here. Each day, I try and find and find one interesting thing about the culture here. One of them is that Romanians are very passionate and have absolutely no qualms about P.D.A so that keeps things interesting.
This week I saw the hand of God work in my life so visibly. I learned two very important lessons the first is about fear. Fear is the Devil's strongest tool. We have an investigator that has read the entire Book of Mormon, that has the felt the spirit and love of God but will not get baptized because she is afraid of being rejected by friends, and family. She is afraid of trying to quit smoking, she is afraid of change. I understand that these are all very real fears but these fears are keeping here from eternal happiness. These fears are keeping here from experiencing the power of the atonement. The Devil knows that and he uses fear to paralyze us. I know that fear is not of God it is a tool of the Devil that will keep us from accomplishing our divine potential. I need to work on eliminating fear from my life because we do not have to fear when God is on our side. So many times in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John does Christ say "Fear not" or "be still". I know that when we are following our Savior fear does not have to be apart of our lives. 
Okay now for my second lesson God answers prayers and He is preparing people for this work. I don't know if I mentioned it but last week Sora B told me about this lady that had a baptismal date but then stopped progressing because her husband wouldn't let her. We decided to pray for her in every single one of our prayers this week (and we pray a lot) that her heart would be softened and she would meet with us again. On Friday night, we had this long pray on our knees for her and we called her. Her phone was off super anti-climatic. BUT we called her on Saturday and she was super happy, we met with her on Sunday and she is now preparing for baptism!!!!!!! She told us she had started reading from the Book of Mormon again earlier this month and her husband who is actually her boyfriend of 25 years (Sora B forgot that small detail) is in Germany working. So yes we have some things we have to work through with her but wow was the spirit strong in that lesson. We are super pumped about that. I know that God is working miracles in each of our lives. Sometimes we are too high up to see them, but is when we brought down into humility that the miracles are sweetest.
Okay one more awesome story, we met with this member on Saturday night in her home. She lives with her daughter and granddaughter and they are way strong and active super great. Their home is literally a room. They have a bathroom and a room with two beds, a desk, a fridge, and a shelf with pots & pans. Then they have a community oven and stove for their whole floor. I was so humbled. She made us this delicious yellow cake with apples in it and gave us half to take home. The members are so so strong here. We have some inactive members that we are working with but wow is this branch in Ploiesti incredible. It was one of the strongest in Romania and we are going to make it even stronger.
Okay so random thoughts
We have gone for a run every morning, it isn't super cold yet. We found a great park with an 800 meter pathway going around it so I run about 3 miles every morning. I just really miss my running buddy Sister Allen
Oh funny story Irina (the one getting ready for baptism) calls her missionaries by their first name. When I told her my first name she said " ühhhhh okay Bertney!" hahaha I literally almost started looking around for Graham Allen. More funny stories I almost got maimed by a bus door the other day and these two Romanian dudes thought it was the funniest thing in the world. It like swung open and nailed me in the back, but all is good. 
The food here is great. The fruit and vegetables are incredible! I have had the best apples I have ever eaten in my whole life here. So Luke you better get pumped to serve in Romania! Life is good. Everyday I am amazed by the circumstances of the people here. But even more amazed at the love that God has for each and every one of them. 
Hope everyone is doing well back in the States!
Sora Armstrong


Monday, November 3, 2014

Ploiesti, Romania

I am in Romania HOLY WOW. It is hard to believe I am finally in the field. Okay so here is the play by play. We left at Provo at 3:30am, Monday morning we did not sleep at all that night so that was my first ever all nighter! We got to the Salt Lake airport and headed for Atlanta. In Atlanta, we had our last meal in the states ever which was Pei Wei for me pretty sweet. Then we headed for Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we met a cool guy from Scotland and an awesome Romanian couple it was then that I realized that I do not know Romanian but it's okay. Elder Soelberg got us through the conversation. They were pretty hardcore baptists which is really random for Romania but yeah and when we pulled out the Book fo Mormon they got super uncomfortable it was great. Anyway, we got to Bucharest we slept on the planes and stuff but we were all pretty out of it me and Sora Trebas were super giggly. Everybody's suitcases got to Bucharest Elder Soelberg's bag exploded so it was all wrapped in plastic when we picked it up. He was not happy about that. Then we met the Ivory's they were awesome! So cool. We had lunch at Ikea haha it was way good. We went to this park in Bucharest called chisamagu and read the Romanian and Moldovan dedicatory prayers. Let me tell you there are some INCREDIBLE things in store for these people. Moldova was promised stakes. Because of Moldova's population that means that eventually majority of the country will be active members of the church. In the Romanian dedicatory prayer it talks about having creative courage, I love that phrase and so does President Ivory, it is part of our mission statement. The park was FREEZING but beautiful. From there we went back to the mission home which is gorgeous and had our interviews. Then we went to a senior couples home for some sandwiches then Sora Routson and I (we traded companions went to another senior couples house and slept. We went for a run with President Ivory the next morning in another beautiful park I loved that and then we had training at his house in the morning. we all did a pretty good job at staying awake. Then we met our trainers!
My trainer is Sora Barrera and we are serving in Ploiesti (ployest) Wow I love it here the branch is so strong we even have a real church building! We have two families with a mom a dad and kids. The rest are older couples or singles. My goal for this branch is to find a family so in the next 12 weeks I will find and commit a family with a mom, dad and kids to baptism. Which brings me to my first point. This mission is the most positive mission on the planet I love that. Before I came everyone told me how I won't have a lot of baptisms and how hard this will be. Well guess what homies, Sora B and I have 7 investigators right now and the mission has baptisms lined up for the next six weeks. If we want and believe we can baptize we will. So please never ever tell anyone that they won't baptize because of their mission. It isn't the mission it is the missionary that decides the baptisms. That principle of believing you can do something applies to more than just baptisms it applies to every situation in life. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can do all that our Father in Heaven wants us to. We can overcome any challenge, and deal with any trial I have a very strong testimony of that.
Okay so yes I did bear my testimony in church, the Elder's said it was one of the best one's they have heard from a "boboaca" it means little duckling or new missionary. So that was nice. In my district I have the Zone Leaders and another set of elders one of them goes home in 6 weeks the other one played basketball at Lone peak so that's cool.
We brought three 13 year old girls with us to church I sent some pictures with them. There is no young women's program because they are no baptized girls that are 12-18 in the branch yet so we did our little lesson with them third hour on faith we gave them personal progress books and told them to do the first faith experience. Talking with them is so fun. They are so patient with my Romanian and love to help me out. They also have such a thirst to know about God which is way cool. We also started talking to one of Sora B's old investigators she works at a store near the church so we see her almost everyday. She has already read the Cartea Lui Mormon and knows it is true we just gotta get her to come to church she is the sweetest lady. She always yells at me for not wearing boots. No one here can say Armstrong it is kind of funny so she calls me Sora Sara. I'm not sure where it came from but that's what she calls me. haha
So Romanian is hard I have no clue what is going on all the time but Sora B helps me out. She is originally from El Salvador so she speaks Spanish and Romanian and English. She hasn't made me make any phone calls yet but I might need someone to send me Austin's breathing techniques if she does. She baptized at 20 year old girl last transfer so we work with her about three times a week. She wants to go on a mission so right now we are working through Preach My Gospel with her. We do a lot of teaching at the church building which is cool. We also teach a lot of 30/30 lessons which is 30 minutes of English 30 minutes of gospel. Those are fun because Sora B is already forgetting little English phrases so I get to help out. We are teaching this one awesome lady that already speaks Russian, french, and Romanian. This lady reminds me so much of Amy Brown it is crazy. She fed us water with tghese rock mineral things in it and she teaches yoga, she is also crazy intelligent. I'm pretty sure Ella will look exactly liker her when she gets older too.
So we are staying for busy here in Ploiesti. I am so grateful for that. People here are looking for happiness, and we have it! Please, please pray for the families of Romania and Ploiesti. I want so badly to find a family right now we are only teaching young women aged girls or single older women. I know that God is preparing a family for us I just have to find them. Our branch is already one of the strongest branches in Romania but it needs more active families.
My first couple of days here were a little rough but I have literally felt my burdens lifted off my shoulders. Our Heavenly Father will push us and push us but He knows how far we can go. For the first time in my life I gave everything to Him through pray I just said "I will do whatever you want me to and I will learn whatever you need me to" I felt complete peace after that, I know that my Heavenly Father is looking out for me and knows me and expects a lot out of my but I can do it, only through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Okay so funny stories from Romania:
The very first day I was here we went down this ally way and this row of houses came out of no where, I was looking for the front door when my companion said oh you just knock on the window that is totally normal, I looked at her and I said you know that isn't how you do it in the states right? She goes oh yeah I guess that is weird to do in the states. She's been here for 8 months and she thinks knocking on windows is normal I cannot wait to get to that point. Also in that same alleyway we were with the elders and this dog came out of nowhere and started growling at us and jumped on one of the elders! It bit his jacket! Yeah that was all on my first day in the field.
Then just now I am sitting here starting to email and this guy leans over and asks me where I'm from I say the states, ten minutes later how old I am I say 19, twenty minutes later in broken English "later will you go get coffee with me" me: uhhhhhhh no I can't I'm a missionary, him: so? me: uhhhh no I can't hahaha I am not sure how to explain why I can't in Romanian so I just kept on saying nu, imi pare rau (no,sorry) yeah it was great.
So that is my first week in Romania! This church is true, the spirit is the same whether or not you understand what is being said! I love you all thank you for all the prayers!
Te Iubesc
Sora Armstrong

Saturday, October 25, 2014


WOOOOHOOOOO Romania here I come!!!!! Do I know how to say where's the bathroom? or ask for directions or talk about anything not related to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Nope but I am so excited YES!!!!
I am also excited to not eat spinach and peanut butter for every meal. But I have loved the MTC. I have had some incredible opportunities and I have gotten to meet some incredible people. It is so interesting hearing everybody's stories of how or why they are on missions but the basic theme is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE and because of that knowledge our lives have been so blessed and we want everyone in the world to feel the JOY that this gospel has brought. I love being surrounded by missionaries, I feel like a little college basketball player getting to practice with the dream team. So many powerful testimonies.
So this week was great as always. On thursday Sora K and I got to talk to a real Romanian over skype! It was nuts she was so sweet as soon as she started talking I felt this insane overwhelming love for her. It was not a love I could have felt on my own. She was the sweetest lady and invited me and Sora K over to dinner when we get to her area! We shared a message from President Monson's talk about how our Savior has walked all the paths that we might walk. She bore her testimony to us over skype and wow the spirit pretty much nailed me in the face. I was so nervous before we answered the call just because I did not think she would be able to understand my Romanian and as soon as we answered this feeling of peace entered my heart. This is not my message that I am sharing it is the Lord's and he can do all things even help people feel the spirit through skype, SO COOL! I did totally get my numbers mixed up when we went to read a scripture and I asked her to read a verse that did not exist, I also tried to use a word that did not exist but hey we all have to learn to somewhere. The Lord just likes to have me learn through trial and error and embarrassing experiences but now I really know my numbers! This woman was a woman of incredible spiritual strength and I cannot wait to meet her.
We also had a devotional with Chad Lewis. I love that guy! He shared a story about how his old NFL coach Andy Reid had just baptized one of his assitant coaches and when Brother Lewis was hanging with them in his Andy Reid's personal locker room after the cheifs had just beat the patriots Brother Lewis could see that something was different about this coach, there was a light in this guy's eyes that was unmistakable and Coach Reid noticed Brother Lewis trying to figure out what it was. He said "Chad, this guy (I can't remember his name) just got baptized can you tell?" Brother Lewis could tell. That is I am here because this message can help all people, in all places, at all times! I am sharing a message of joy. We are God's children, He loves us. Because He loves us He sent his son to walk among us. Jesus Christ worked miracles then and now He works miracles in our lives. Our Heavenly Father is a God of miracles. The atonement in itself is a miracle. We all sin we all mess up no one is perfect and no one is better than their bother. Through Christ's atonement we can conquer sin, we can be clean, our guilt can be washed away EVERY SINGLE Sunday. Like wow! All that because our Heavenly Father loves us. This gospel applies to each person on this earth individually because Christ knows us individually. He knows that my struggles are different from your struggles but He will succor us both. That is my message. I am so excited to get to Romania.
My goal for the next 18 months is to become a Romanian I want to be immersed completely in the culture, I want to learn everything about these people. Why they do what they do, what they eat, what they are passionate about EVERYTHING! I am so blessed to have this opportunity, I promise each one of you that I will seize it and learn everything I can. 
I love you all remember: no matter who you are, no matter what you have you done, you have a Savior Jesus Christ, whose arms are open wide. Learn of him. 
I love you all, talk to you from Romania next time!!!!!
Sora Armstrong


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week #4 in the MTC

Hello Friends and Family,
I hope everyone is doing well, getting ready for Halloween and eating lots of pumpkin flavored things. The food here has not improved with the onset of Fall but that is okay I just eat a lot of Spinach and peanut butter. Life as a missionary is foarte bine (very good). This week has been the strangest week so far. 
On friday Sora Koth and I taught a lesson in english in front of a bunch of MTC teachers. I compared God to a soccer coach and the Book of Mormon to a playbook because our investigator was pretending to be a pro soccer player so that was fun. But during the lesosn I had this weird sense of longing for something like the lesson was lacking something. Then I realized it was lacking Romanian! It was at that point in time that I realized I love the Language of Romanian. Such a cool experience. I have fallen in love with it and I cannot imagine learning anything else. That love makes the days when the grammar goes right over my head and I have no clue what is going on during our lessons with our investigators worth it because I know through the gifts of Heavenly Father and through hard work I can learn this gorgeous, fascinating language. So that was cool.
On saturday we had six hours of lessons and everybody was way loopy so we did a lot of review. At one point Sora Koth had tears running down her face from laughing so hard, I'm not even sure what she was laughing at. We also had a lesson with Florina about repentance, we wrote the five steps and just planned really well for it and it went awesome! Sora Koth still talks way more than I do but I do my best when I am prompted and that's all I can do. George our other investigator is still a work in progress, he still has a hard time praying with faith that he will recieve an answer and we kind of had to crack down and explain that if he does not expect God to help him he will never recognize how God is helping him. But I haven't really had to chastise him again so things are good and we are still friends :). 
Okay then on Sunday Sora Trebas who I just love to death sang Come Thou Fount in sacrament meeting it took me back to sitting on the stand for my farewell and man that feels like FOREVER ago. Wow. Sora Trebas did INCREDIBLE it was one of the prettiest versions I have ever heard. It was truly a tender mercy to hear that song again it brings so much comfort and peace. Heavenly Father knew I needed to hear it.
Okay so get this, Monday our teachers made everyone go to the doctor during class because they could tell they weren't feeling well. Every single Romanian was sick EXCEPT for me. The last three days have been so strange because Sora Trebas and Sora Koth have been sleeping all day long same with Elder Soelberg. On Monday, Sora Routson wasn't feeling good either so I had class alone. SO STRANGE. It was just me and Fraitele Frandsen who is incredible. We talked about how missionaries are the doctors and our investigators are our patients. They come to us becasuse they have symptoms that the Gospel can heal. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has something in it for EVERY single one of God's children. We all suffer from different afflictions but the love of God can heal each of us. I have the opportunity to share that message SO COOL. 
So then Sora Routson was feeling better on Tuesday and she came to gym with me where I broke the dips record! Woot woot, it was 11 and I got 15 my name will now be on the records board twice. I'm pretty proud of myself I also ran a 6:38 mile still terrible but at least I am improving. A sister from our zone came up to me the other day in the cafetaria and said "Sora Armstrong will help me make a salad" haha it was really funny but we made our salads together and I have now converted her to cholua sauce. 
So my district looks like the walking dead because they are all so drugged up on cough syrup and advil and then there is me just hopping along in front of them so they don't get me sick it is a pretty funny picture. 
Okay so spiritual thought of the week: I have been studying the life of Christ in the gospel of Matthew. I really want to get to know my Savior bettter. We watched the movie 'The Testaments' on Sunday night and it showed Christ descending to the Nephites. I know there will come a day when Christ looks at me and He will know everything about me because He died for me and has felt my pains and sufferings. I want to be able to look back at him and know him as much as my mortal state will allow. I loved how when Christ calls Peter and the other apostles they immediately follow him, that is the type of disciple I must strive to be. I have so much I need to change about myself and so much I need to learn but I can change through the atonement we can all change through the atonement. Jesus Christ walked among men and preformed miracles. Miracles take faith, me learning this language will be a miracle but just as Christ can heal someone just by them touching his robe He can help me learn this language. I love my Savior and I know He knows me personally and knows each of you personally.
This was proved to me yet again when our teachers started talking about how in Romania the culture respects boldness. Our teacher said that when people ask questions about why they need to be baptized again or why the Priesthood matters, we need to boldly bear our testimonies and they will respect that. I have never had a problem with the whole boldness thing. When our teacher said that it pumped me up. The way he described that part of the Romanian culture it felt like I was Romanian haha. He said the people do not hide their feelings, if you ask how someone is doing they will give you a straight complete answer I love that. It is right up my ally! Don't worry I will still be careful (maybe) but I know that the Lord knows me and my personality and it was so comforting to have it proven yet again that God has a plan for me and has a plan for all of you.
Family and Friends, I love you, I pray for you, I know that God loves you, find joy in your lives everyday. I promise it is there, choose to be happy! 
Mult Dragoste,
Sora Armstrong

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week # 3 MTC

Wooooohoooo General Conference at the MTC is one gigantic party. We barely had a schedule, all we had to do was listen to men and women of God instruct and guide us and then we got to go walk around the Provo temple grounds and it was just a beautiful, beautiful weekend. I loved how the general authorities chose to speak in their native language, this church truly is a global church. We also got a sweet shout out to Romania which way cool. It felt like as soon as they said it everybody looked at us five little romanian missionaries and we just sat there beaming. Being in the MTC sometimes it feels I'm not actually on a mission, it feels like I am just at some version of EFY on steriods. Hearing so much about missionary work during general conference was a great reminder of what I am doing and why I am here.
This week was great. The language is coming, the theme of our class is pas cu pas (step by step) At times it feels like learning Romanian is impossible especially because we are getting into the nitty gritty grammar right now but I know that it is not impossible. Because God has called me to use the Romanian language to proclaim his gospel and just as he commanded Nephi to go and get the plates from a ruthless terrifying man He has commanded me to share his gospel. I know that the Lord provided a way for Nephi to obtain the plates and I know that if I work my hardest the Lord will prepare a way for me to obtain the language of Romanian. Without faith we are nothing. I would not be able to wake up everyday if I did not have faith that my Heavenly Father would provide me with strength to accomplish what he has asked of me. 
Okay so funny story we walked up to the temple on saturday with part of our zone to stretch our legs in between sessions. As we are walking we are just talking about conference and life (totally normal for a bunch of 19 year old kids right) and one of the elders looks at me and goes "so Sora Armstrong what is the key to a girl's heart?" I just about died laughing. I was so taken aback I had no idea how to answer him or where that question came from. I love how here at the MTC we are all so focused on learning languages and strengthening our testimonies but at the same time we are just a bunch of kids and we can still have some great times. We have a lot of elders in our zone that our fresh out of high school and they are so goofy at meal times but then they get up and bear these beautiful testimonies. 
That reminds me last night we had a devotional by Elder Nielson from the 70. He said that God called Joseph Smith because He had to show us that anyone can receive personal revelation. Think about all the prophets God has ever called they have all been so humble. If God had restored the gospel through a political figure we would have said "you have to be a prominent learned man to receive revelation" if he had done it through a minister we would have said "you have top be a minister" He revealed the gospel to a 14 year old boy to show us all that even the humblest of men can receive answers to their questions. Even you and me. That is why we are called as missionaries at 18 and 19 because we must be humble enough to obey the will of the Lord perfectly in order to do his work. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. This week my colega and I memorized the first vision in Romanian and wow was the spirit there when we recited it. There has been very few times when I have felt the spirit woosh into a lesson stronger than when the first vision is read or recited. It truly is a beautiful thing.
The gospel of Jesus Christ can bless everyone! This week during our lesson with George he told us he wasn't feeling anything when he prayed. I asked him if he expected answers when he prayed and what exactly did he expect. He thought for a long time and said he did not pray expecting answers be he wanted peace. I bore my testimony in broken Romanian of course of the fact that we must have faith and desire to feel the peace that this gospel can bring. The way the MTC is run is so inspired I learn so much each day. George is a very sad investigator but each time we meet with him I can see the spirit build him up a little but more. But only when he has a desire to be built up the spirit works that way for all us we must have a desire to be helped and comforted in order to receive comfort from Heavenly Father. 
And with that my time is up one more thing that I learned this week. In Alma 7 it talks about how Christ will succor us in the Romanian scriptures there is no good way to translate succor so it just says help us. That makes me kind of sad because succor to me means that Christ will come down to our level and stand with us as we endure trials that we must endure. I feel like help just means he will fix our problems which is not what this life is about. We are to learn and grow (i have that phrase memorized in Romanian I use it a lot) Christ will hold us as we endure our growing pains but if He stopped the growing pains from happening we would never get any taller and we all know how important height is right? (that was me making fun of myself) 
Alright my beloved humans I am out. Love you all, thank you for the prayers and keep being the incredible people you are!
Sora Armstrong

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week #2 MTC

Wow wow wow.........another week come and gone. I learn more here in a day than I learned in a semester of college. First off, I am changing as a person. We were in line at the cafeteria when this one worker started giving this guy wearing a University of Utah sweater a super hard time and was just so rude to him. I guess Utah lost pretty bad last weekend. I saw the guy later and APOLOGIZED for how rude the BYU fan had been. Who the heck am I? I was just so embarrassed at how horrible that worker had been. So family and friends, you may not even recognize me by the time I get home. 
Okay, now for some real cool stuff. My testimony of Joseph Smith has grown so much this week. I know that he was a prophet of God and that by humble people are great things brought to pass. Yesterday, my companion and I were doing weekly planning and right now we have two "fake investigators" but we are to treat them as real ones. Florina is one of the investigators. She is a very humble single mom. When we asked her to read a scripture in the lesson, she was very hesitant because she could not read very well. During planning it hit me how important it was that she understand how humble of a person Joseph Smith was and how the Lord used him to do incredible things. Then I saw how incredible Florina could be as a member. She would be just the sweetest member of Relief Society. It was the coolest experience to get see someone's potential.  It was such a testimony to me of what the Lord sees in each of us. Whether we belong to the Mormon Church or not, our Father in Heaven has a plan for each of us and has somebody He needs us to become. As I learn more and more about our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, I get overwhelmed by just how much they love us. Everything that God and Christ have done for us is out of love. Our trials that we must go through? They have been given to us out of love. Just like Dad makes his basketball boys run up that hill every monday so they can be stronger, our Heavenly Father gives us hills to strengthen us and to teach us. Without hills we could return to live with him after this life. Here's the difference between Dad and Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father gives us Christ to run up the hill with. We are NEVER alone. (I don't think dad is running up that hill with his boys.) 

This week, we also learned about the power of prayer. In Romania, everybody knows what prayer is but they use memorized prayers that don't really mean anything to them. Our other investigator is a college student. At the beginning of the lesson, he was being way rude and kept on pulling out his phone and stuff. I told him (in Romanian) that the only way he was going to get something out of this lesson was if he was focusing on what we were discussing and how he felt about it. So I guess I haven't changed that much, I'm still pretty fiesty. My companion loved it though. As soon as we got out, she told our whole zone about it. So now everyone knows the real me not the sweet sora I was pretending to be... opps.
Back to prayer though. I had the opportunity to testify of the power of prayer. As I did, the spirit testified to me of how strong prayer really is. Prayer is a conversation with God, can it get any better than that seriously? Heavenly Father hears our prayers, every single one of them no matter how humble or disjointed they are. Most of my prayers are half Romanian half english but he does not care. We are his children and prayer is our opportunity to communicate with him. Prayer can change hearts I know it can. I pray everyday for each of you. Thank you so much for your prayers. I beg of you to take your worries and pains and questions to the Lord through prayer and you will feel peace. Whenever we invite an investigator to pray, they always look so worried. But after they do, we can see the feeling of peace that comes over them. When our hearts are in the right place, prayer will bring us peace and strength in our darkest times. I bear testimony of that. Okay, that's my high horse of the week. But seriously PRAY!

Romanian is going well, mine is still very broken but I am working on verbs and we are starting to learn a lot about grammar which is hard. But it is still good. I have memorized a couple of scriptures in Romanian and I am working on the First Vision. When I bore my testimony in Romanian to Parker he said I sounded really "white" so I should probably work on my accent also. The main thing is I just have to keep working though. It is crazy how much cross country has prepared me for this mission. I know from cross country that I cannot think negative thoughts if I am going to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I also know from cross country that we must edify those around us in order to succeed. Did you know that word edify comes from the word edifice which is building so to edify someone is to build them up? We learned that in devotional last night. I also have a testimony of hard work from cross country, so I know that through the Lord (and hard work0 I can do hard things.

Life is good here. My name is on the board in the gym for the pull up record so that is way cool. I can also break the dips record. I found that out yesterday when I tried it just for fun. Also I ran a mile and got a 6:41 which I know is not great, but I was kind of proud of myself for it. And I have not passed out once so there you go! I also balled it up with this girl that played basketball at Snow College last year and that was so much fun. The MTC truly is an incredible place. During the morning, I'm defending this 5'10" girl on the bastketball court and in the afternoon I'm giving a lesson about Joseph Smith in Romanian. I really do love it! 

Okay family friends, I'm signing off. I love each of you and your prayers are truly blessing my life. Know that your Father in Heaven loves you no matter what and He wants you to come unto Him! I have experienced a joy here that I have never felt before. At the same time, I am so humbled by this call.

Mult Dragoste!
Sora Armstrong
Sora Armstrong & Sora Koth

Parker Yocum had a chance encounter with B last week....He works at BYU Mail Services, which is right next to the MTC

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week #1 MTC

puh-dince of puh-duhsia
Buna Ziua!
I can happily say I now know more than just that phrase in Romanian, but I still really need your prayers. Life is so good! Romanian is not easy, but I can do it. I've always enjoyed hard things. On Thursday, I was having a way hard time and my teacher had me say puh-dince of pud-disha like a million times and now I can do it. How sick is that? We have class for about six hours a day then we study for another 3 hours. I am finding that I needed to reminded a lot about the simple truths of the gospel. I also realized that I probably got sent to Romania because I need to talk a lot less and listen to the spirit a lot more. Oh and anytime the letters au are next to each other it sounds like "ow" I have that noise down because it is exactly how Baby Owen says it how awesome is that? Me and my colege are teaching a fake investigator right now and even though we aren't always positive what he is saying the spirit is so strong in our lessons. The spirit her is tangible and it overcomes me and comforts me whenever I need it most. I'm learning how to not compare myself because some people are getting romanian quicker than I am. 
The MTC is great I am proud to say that I have broken the pull up record in the gym with 9 pull ups and plan to up that number in the next six weeks. Also I am expanding my horizons, my colege dragged me to choir so I am now in the MTC choir and i am perfecting my lip syncing skills.
I have a testimony that prayer works, heavenly father has blessed me so much and answered all of my prayers in the last 7 days. The food here is okay I pretty much have salad for every meal which  enjoy. I think I ate so much cantalope the first couple of days that the citrus like burned my mouth or something it was worth it though. 
Sunday was incredible we got to watch the Ogden temple Dedication and when sweet President Monson spoke the spirit punched me and said "that is a prophet of the Lord". It was Awesome! We also watch an old MTC devotional of Elder Bednar's that was called character of christ, try and find it because it was amazing. It is all about denying the cookie monster inside all of us to turn out and serve others. So instead of "turning up" I am now "turning out" haha get it? Thank you for all the prayers! I love you all so much, pray for missionary opportunities. Last night Elder Ballard gave a devotional and said if you were truly converted to this gospel and have felt the true love of Christ. You would not be able to interact with a single person without mentioning what you know to be true and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stiu ca evanghelia lui isus hristos este adeverat si Dumnezeu dragoste toti. I know the gospel of jesus christ is true and that God loves all.
Iubesc to the moon and back 
Sora Armstrong

September 17, 2014 The journey begins... from San Diego to MTC.

San Diego Airport Family Pic

Marching Through Security

Entering the MTC