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

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