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!