Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ch Ch Changes...

What a week of changes! I said goodbye to my trainer Sora Barrera this week. That was rough. She taught me so much, I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn from her and I know she is going to do work over there in Moldova. We got to go to Bucharest for transfers and I got to see my good friend Sora Trebas and all the other MTC homies. We are all growing up in the mission so fast it is nuts. Then me and three new sisters headed back to Ploiesti. Four is a crowd in our apartment for sure, but we have worked out the shower thing and they are looking for a new apartment this week. All the members are super excited for the new soras I think it makes them feel special to know that this branch is so strong that it required an extra set.
This week we had some solid lessons with Georgiana. We talked a lot about Jesus Christ and about why we need the gospel in our lives. Again it hit me how important this gospel is to me and how different my life would be without it. I could not have overcome anything without the strength of my Savior and I just want Georgiana to understand how much the gospel can help her. She is young, so we are taking the lessons a little but slower and doing our best to keep her involved. We just got to get her reading the Book of Mormon regularly. We also had a lesson with Alexandra a recent convert about an Elaine S. Dalton talk. The one where she says Wherever thou are act thy part. I love that. We talked about our talents. I realized that Alexandra had never had anyone tell her she had talents from God that she could use to change lives. For young women growing up in the church we hear that almost weekly it is common knowledge but there are so many young women around the world that do not know they have talents and that do not understand that impact they can make. I was very grateful for the opportunity I had to share that with Alexandra. We challenged her to write down her talents and then to choose ones she wants to develop. 
Teaching with Sora Allen is fun sometimes we have no idea what is going on, because neither of us have been here for very long but we just laugh ask them to speak slower and pray for the gift of the tongues. I have no doubt this is going to be an incredible transfer.
On Saturday we had a branch activity celebrating the unifying of Romania. After the dinner someone just turned on music and all the cute old ladies just started doing these traditional dances soon enough they had dragged all the missionaries out onto the floor so all eight of us were just walking in a circle and doing our best to keep up with these 60 year old women that were incredibly light on their feet. It was hilarious. Sora Chilera had traditional Romanian clothes for us to wear too. It was so much fun! 

Well now it is time for me to go but I want to leave again with my testimony that Christ is our Savior. That through him we can do all things but we must ACT. When my faith begins to waver it is because I am not going forward but I am allowing myself to stand still. We all have talents given to us by a Heavenly Father, we must develop these talents and use them to serve those around us. We all have our own Goliaths, whether they be school, work, family, physical or mental illness, or romanian it is those Goliaths that make us who we need to be. I have learned that I cannot fight my Goliaths, all I can do is turn to the Lord and beg him for the strength to overcome my Goliath and then allow myself to learn from them. Family and Friends I love you all so much thank you for your prayers and your love!
Sora Armstrong 

P.S. Shout out to all the people that sent me Christmas cards I love them so much!!! And shout out to Mark and Kory Brown and Kate and Craig Brown for the awesome packages!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two Transfers Down

Wow TWO transfers down! I still do not know Romanian but patience right? Sora Barrera is heading to Chisanau next transfer and she is pretty excited about that. I will be holding the fort down here in Ploiesti as well as introducing a new companionship of Soras into the area. I am so pumped for it. There is a lot of work to do in this area and the more of us the better.
We had some pretty amazing experiences this week. We set a goal to teach a certain amount of lessons this week and although we did not hit our goal Heavenly Father placed people in our path to teach and we totally could have beaten our goal if people didn't have free agency but apparently that is a pretty big part of the Plan so I just have to learn to deal with it.
We started teaching Georgiana this week. She is a 14 year old girl that is the captain of her Handbol team. How tight is that? She is the first girl I have met in Romania that plays sports and man do I love this young woman. We taught her Plan of Salvation first, and after the lesson she said she would teach us Romanian, haha it was so cute. Probably also a hint that my Romanian is still terrible though. Anyway she also came to Razvon's baptism. The baptism was incredible by the way. The spirit was so strong. Razvon bore his testimony after it was so simple yet so powerful. He said he knows that the Lord Jesus Christ lives and that this is his restored gospel. He also said he was ready to devote his life to Christ. It was so so cool.
Anyway back to Georgiana. She was there and she loved it. Then we had a lesson with her about the restoration. We watched the Restoration video with her and after she said that she has never had a movie captivate her like this one did. She said she felt like she was there in the grove with Joseph and she remembered she was back in Romania. It was so cool to hear her say that. We testified that that was the Holy Ghost testifying to her of the truth. We wanted to set a baptism date with her but she said she wants to think and pray which I appreciate because it means she knows how important this decision is. It was a powerful lesson. I love Georgiana so much and I am so glad I get to stay here in Ploiesti and keep teaching her. 
Family Friends people listen up. If you are ever doubting your testimony or if you want to know which of all of the churches on this earth are true. Read the Book of Mormon, read Joseph Smith History and pray about it. Ask God our eternal father if this is his church and I promise that if you are praying with a desire and with a willing heart you will feel his love and through the Holy Ghost you can come to know that this is his gospel. That through this gospel you can find eternal happiness.

Okay now for some fun stuff. On Wednesday we went to a salt mine about an hour away from here. It was like a 20 minute van drive down into this mine. It was HUGE like you could host a concert a world cup game and a super bowl in there AT THE SAME TIME. It was so so cool. We all started coming up with different movies we could make in there and stuff. Part of the Dark Knight was filmed in this one so that is sick. The salt mine had like little restaurants you could eat at and lots of things sculpted from salt. It was way cool.

I am so blessed to be able to live in such a beautiful country, to be able to become a part of the culture here and to hopefully eventually learn this beautiful language.
People I love you all!
Sora Armstrong

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another Week in Romania

Buna Familia, si Prietenii!
Wow another week in Romania! To be honest the days feel pretty long but then I go to write this letter and I am like wow that happened all the way on Tuesday and it feels like it happened yesterday.
This week I learned how to make Sarmale. It is a super traditional dish here. It is pork and rice wrapped in cabbage and it is delicious. You have to take the pork and make into a big ball in your hands. So all us are missionaries are in this tiny kitchen making ground pork into balls and Elder Allphin (Mr. Lone Peak basketball player) starts getting fancy with his pork ball and splat he drops the whole thing on the floor. So that was fun. He was all red and embarrassed. Sora Chilera didn't get too mad so that was good. 
Sora Barrera and I did a lot of walking this week we have been spending a lot of time trying to find less actives. It is kind of like being an FBI agent. We get an address, then we go all over the city looking for these people. We talk to their neighbors to see if they still live at the address and stuff. Haha kind of fun. We also did a lot of English contacting this week, since English class started on Saturday. Sometimes people are so rude when we are handing out the cards and it is like gee sorry I am trying to offer you FREE English classes. Anyway, Sora Barrera and I just laugh about it after. We also realized that our apartment is super dark because all of our light bulbs are burnt out so we went and bought some new ones but then we realized that we are both too short to reach our ceiling. I was too prideful to call the elders, so we stacked some chairs on each other and I climbed up them and we changed 15 light bulbs without getting electrocuted...... how pro is that?

Here is some AWESOME news, the Elders are having baptism next week! We were so pumped to hear about it and Razvon is exactly what the branch needs, He is 32 year old that just wants to do missionary work all the time. He is such a stud. Right now he is living in the apartment of his old church and when he gets baptized his old church will kick him out, but he doesn't care. He said he knows what he is doing is right and he knows the Lord will provide for him. How incredible is that? My people, listen up this gospel is true. It requires so much sacrifice from us but nothing good comes from easy stuff right? Sacrifice humbles us and allows us to turn to our Heavenly Father and to become closer to our Savior. Please know how important you are to you Heavenly Father. Please recognize that no matter what, you are a child of God, of an all knowing being. We readily except that God knows everything but why is so hard for us to accept that He knows us personally? This knowledge that my Heavenly Father knows me changed my life and beg each of you to allow it to change yours. 
Thank you so much for all the prayers and the love!
Sora Armstrong

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pumped for 2015

La Multi Ani Familia si Prietenii!!!
Happy New Year! Dang 2015, wow. I will spend this entire year here in Romania and I am so PUMPED for it! This week was great but every week is great so I will elaborate. 
Here new year's eve is called Revelion. The district wanted to go out to a restaurant and have a nice little dinner to celebrate but every single restaurant in Ploiesti was closed... except for one... McDonald's I was a litlle bummed. But I got a mcflurry so it was okay. We had to be inside at 9 o'clock so it was pretty quiet. At 12 we went up to the roof of our block and WOW. They were fireworks EVERYWHERE they were being sent off from all over the city. We could see like 20 different sets of them from our bloc. It was gorgeous, it was also freezing but it was so cool. Everyone was out on the street, I told Sora B we should go do some contacting, I have never seen so many people in one place before. Sora B said no because contacting drunk people is not effective. Which is probably true. Standing on top of that bloc watching the fireworks was one of those Holy cow I am in Romania moments. I am so grateful to be here. I fall more in love with the people and culture everyday. No matter where I live for the rest of my life Romania will always hold a very special place in my heart. I might even root for them in the Olympics.
So no one really wanted to meet with this week on New Years Day the streets were empty, it was super eerie. But we did get to go have lunch with a member so that was fun. Then we went to Brasov by train for exchanges. 
Brasov is so beautiful I will go skiing there someday. It is kind of the Park City of Romania. I exchanged with Sora Robertson. I was super fun we went and visited a family where the mom is a less active member that has just recently started coming back to church. I prayed super hard all day for the gift tongues. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of Sora Robertson with my weak language scales. When we got into the lesson I was understanding most of what she was saying and then I was able to bear my testimony of the power of setting goals. I was so cool. The language is still really difficult but Heavenly Father is aware of my heart and my desire to understand and communicate with these people.
Also on Sunday we got to church and it was FREEZING inside the church building. Everyone was walking around with all their layers on and Romanians where a lot of layers. Turns out the pipe had burst underneath the chapel, all the tile had gotten torn up going straight through the middle of the chapel. So we made like a little square with chairs all around the torn up area and we had fast and testimony meeting. Every fast Sunday I am blown away by the strength of the members here. You know those people in the states that have super cool conversion stories and everyone asks them to do firesides? Well that is like every member here. It's nuts. At the end President Musat stood up and said "Always remember this day, when you came to a chapel without heat and the heat of your soul was enough" super cheesy but very sweet as well.
Family and friends, I know this gospel is true, to quote my dear cousin Elder Clyde "I would not be doing this if it wasn't" The gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. After we are baptized we have the opportunity to receive the Holy Ghost. I know that when we have the Holy Ghost with us and when we are striving to let him guide our lives we will be at peace with ourselves and we can go forth with confidence. No matter the challenges that beset us through the power of the Holy Ghost we can learn to become better sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Through the power of the Atonement we can change. This year I want to become, everyday I want to become better, a better missionary, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend. I love you all so much!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE year!
Sora Armstrong

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year from Ploiesti!!!

2015....Here we come!
Dang, I will be in Romania for this entire year, that is insane. My New Year's Resolution is to learn Romanian. I have a few others but that is a major one.
First off I want to thank everyone for all the Christmas packages, letters, and cards. I was definitely the most spoiled missionary in Romania this year. Seriously, your letters of encouragement and love meant a lot so thank you so so so much!
Okay now for stories from my first Christmas in Romania. We ate a lot of PORC, everything was porc. I have never eaten so much meat in my entire life and I am not even sure what part of the pig it was coming from. The members were so generous. We had two families invite us over. We went first to eat with Sora Violeta. She is an awesome woman. We have been working to reactivate her and her husband, they are such a cute young couple. They have come to church four times in a row so that is awesome! Anyway we ate with them, we had mamaliga which is baked corn flour, then we had lots of different types of porc, this mayonnaise salad thing and sarmale. It was so much fun to see all the traditional Romanian food, at the same time, it was so interesting to see what a humble Christmas it was for them. Then we went to the Familia Musat's home with the Elders. We got to watch the Lego Movie which was fun and weird at the same time. The Musat's have this little girl that reminded me of Mandy so much. She would crawl onto my lap with this make up set she had gotten from Mosii Craciun ,Santa Claus, and try and put pounds of make up on me. She already had a ridiculous amount on her own face as well. She is a gorgeous little girl though it felt just like I was hanging out Mandy Brown having her hanging off me. It was great. Then we ate more food. I was done with porc at this point but Sora Musat made me try this porc jello stuff and I almost gagged. I really cannot even explain it. Just think all the excess parts of the pig that should never be consumed put into clear jello. Yes I ate that, it was rough. Thank Goodness for water and bread. Sora Musat asked us about our ancestors where they came from and stuff and I got to share a couple of stories from the books that Grandma put together for me. They loved that, especially the story about the missionary in New Zealand finding the bread on the side of the path from his wife at home. Translating that into Romanian was a little difficult but Sora B had my back. All in all it was an incredible Christmas, one that I will never forget! 
This week I have been working on going forth with faith not fear. One of my favorite things I have learned is that when we push forward with faith, our will begins to be aligned with Heavenly Father's. No matter that trial we are encountering we can overcome it if we have faith that our Father in Heaven is there helping us. I promise you He is. There are days of discouragement for sure, days where we feel the weight of all opposition pushing against us but I have never had a day here in Romania where I have not felt my Heavenly Father's love. Sometimes He saves it, but when I need it most His love encompasses me and bears me up. This is not an experience only missionaries are allowed to have or even only Mormons.... all of God's children can feel His encompassing love and power. All we have to do is get on our knees and pray for it. I know that Christ died for all of us and that we all can be recipients of His saving grace through faith, repentance and enduring to the end. I love you all so much! Have an incredible week!
La Multi Ani
Sora Armstrong