Monday, April 20, 2015

G'Day Mates!

Hello from beautiful Constanta!
 Let me start off by saying that I have not worn a jacket in a week! Summer is coming! I even got a little bit of sun, while we were park contacting the other day! I love it, I am in dire need of some vitamin D. So I was in Bucharest last Monday though Wednesday for trainers training, that's right I am trainer. Who woulda thunk? I am still not so sure about myself but let me tell you about AUSSOME trainee. She is AUSTRALIAN (anybody catch my hints ;) ) haha I was assigned to be with Sora Mitts from Melbourne, Australia. She is LEGIT. She has such a fire. She just wants to talk to everyone and it is so fun. She is also ridiculously cute and Romanian men uhh .... let's just say we are going to get some pepper spray. (that is a joke mom). We made a goal to talk to at least one person every single bus we ride on and we are on a lot of buses. Today, I told a lady that I liked her sun glasses and as she was getting off the bus she GAVE them to me! Just said poftiti (here) and I was like nu e okay (no it is okay) and she was like Luati-va (take them) haha so now I got some sunnys (sun glasses in Australian).  I am now learning three languages Romanian, pigeon, and Australian. Anyway back to my comp, she is great. She is fearless when it comes to speaking Romanian which is so awesome and she has so many fun ideas that we are going to put into practice. She is also an incredible singer, which is always fun, her and Sora Trebas are always walking around the apartment singing. I put in requests and it is like I have Pandora again. Also, I am now living with Sora Trebas who is like my best friend ever and that is SO SO fun. Life is just sweet right now. 
Okay, we have actually done some real missionary work this week I promise. We met with a couple of awesome members. We have been sharing our stories with them and inviting them to share their stories with others. The stories of the members here are SO COOL. They are all so strong and powerful. Also on Wednesday I got to see familia musat and fotea at Cismigiu Park. They came to welcome the new missionaries. It was so great to see my favorite peeps from Ploiesti! Like I said I love the people here so much! Even the lady today on the bus who told me she didn't want to talk to me when I asked here about her favorite food, they are all awesome. 
I am super grateful for the opportunity that I have to introduce this incredible country to a new missionary. She (sora mitts) is one of a kind and I am so excited to see all the amazing work she is going to do here. I am doing my best to live up to the example that Sora Barrera gave me. 
This week I have been thinking a lot about hope and I want to know what all you guys think about it. How can we hold onto hope, how can we develop it, how we can we share it? I am so grateful for the simple truths of this gospel, studying them is what helps me keep my hope. The simple yet true fact that Joseph Smith recieved an answer to prayer, that we can live our families forever, and that we can all live again because of Christ reminds me that no matter what, no matter the rejection we face, this gospel is still true. Because of that it is all worth it! 
Love you all! 
Seriously let me know what you think about hope I always ask you guys questions and NO ONE ever responds. RESPOND PEOPLE!
Love ya!
Sora Armstrong

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Because He Lives!!!!

Hello Peoples!
Happy Easter! I hope everyone is stuffed full of chocolate, and potatoes! Easter doesn't happen in Romania until the 12th.....we're on the Orthodox calender. 

Brittany's crew while watching General Conference included 
her companion (Sora Sayre), other missionaries from her zone,
the 1st Romanian member, and a woman that they are teaching
named Alesea

So General Conference was INCREDIBLE!!!! Watching it was kind of weird though. Saturday night we got the Romanian broadcast all set up to watch the Saturday morning session and not a single Romanian came! So we switched it over to English and started watching it in English. We popped the popcorn that Grandma sent and had some fun with that. Then right in the middle of the session our investigator Mercy showed up, which is awesome! She is Nigerian so she only speaks English so she just came up and watched with us. I am so grateful for General Conference this week I got to see it through the eyes of people that were not used to watching a bunch of old men in ties spout off incredible 15 minutes of straight wisdom twice a year. I realized yet again how truly incredible the organization of this church is. Our investigator Alesea came on Sunday to watch the Saturday night session and when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came on she said “Wow how beautiful they all of the same dress even the necklace is the same!” When you grow up in the church it is the little things like that that you just get used to. I loved how a lot of the apostles talked about not becoming casual with this gospel. It is so constant in our lives that we can lose sight of how Miraculous it is. One of the biggest blessings of my mission so far is having the opportunity to watch people learn about the miracles of this gospel for the first time. I am so grateful for this gospel, for all that is has done for me. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to study just the small and simple truths of this gospel, that Joseph Smith was a prophet that the Book of Mormon is true, that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that through Christ we can all be made whole. If you didn’t get a chance to hear General Conference it is on General Conference is for members and nonmembers so check it out! Seriously your life will change I promise. 

There’s my plug for GC. Moving on. We had a pretty good week this week. One night we were all getting ready for bed and Sora Seare (Not my colega, one of the other soras staying in our apartment) was talking about this martial arts move she tried to do to her colega. I was like “hey you should try it on me” So we went over to the carpet and she told me to put my arm around her neck and then she proceeded to try to throw me to the ground using my arm. Well I was not going to let that happen even if she has studied martial arts since middle school. I held my ground and she ended up in a headlock. That’s right I still got it. Then she said “ I want to try something else on you” So me being my cocky self was down for anything. I put my arm around her neck and before I know it I am flying through the air and I land on my back on the ground. She had flipped me over her head! It was so tight and then she taught me how to do it. SO now I am a martial arts champ, no bus lady is ever going to keep from getting off ever again!

 This is the Alston's

The Alston’s left this week. That was really really sad. and WE NEED A SENIOR COUPLE. If you are healthy and senior COME TO ROMANIA. The Alston's did so many incredible things here they truly changed my life for sure but also the lives of so many of the members here.
Also here is another cool story. We had a baptism last Monday actually we had three! AND it was in the BLACK SEA! So sick! The man that got baptized is named Steve, he is an american soldier serving here on the base. He has been married to a member for years and the time was just right, he also invited his two sons to be baptized with him they live in the states but were coming here for Spring Break. His sons are 13 and 10 and they reminded me a lot of a couple of brothers I now pretty well. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!! The black sea was SO COLD but they charged in there and dunked them. Steve and his wife already have a date to go to the temple and I told the 13 year old to go do baptisms as soon as he got home. The joy on their faces was indescribable. I cannot imagine how happy Sister Hannessen was to finally have her whole family together in the gospel. It was such a sweet sweet experience. They all bore their testimonies afterwards and wow Steve’s was incredible. It was a simple testimony of his love for the Savior, his family and his knowledge of Joseph Smith as a prophet. That knowledge has been in the works for a long time now and to hear him say it with such power was a testimony that the Holy Ghost does work to change our hearts as long as we have the desire.
This week as been full of lots of small miracles. I am so so so so happy and I am so so so so grateful for all that my Savior did and does for me. I know that he died like all of us but unlike all of us he rose again and because of that Because of him the sting of sin and even of death has been conquered. I love you all so much!!!!!! Have a wonderful week!
Va iubesc!
Sora Armstrong 

Sunrise in Constanta

Brother Perez is a member from Nigeria studying in Romania

Fun with Soras

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pictures from Constanta

Crazy, but Not Insane

My peoples,
How goes life? Has Easter happened in the States? I have no idea, it is on the 12th here but if it has HAPPY EASTER. I love Easter, it is yet another excuse to talk to people about Jesus.
This has been another crazy week, not as insane as last week but still pretty crazy. We went to Gaati this week for Zone Training. It was AWESOME. We talked a lot about our own personal conversion stories and how we can share them with others. We were told to practice so I thought since I have a little extra time today I would share mine with all of you.
My Story
I have been placed with a knowledge that this church is true since I was born, for some reason Heavenly Father just blessed me with Faith but I honestly did not have a true understanding of h Atonement until I was in college. I was in my first couple of weeks up at BYU when I had an experience that made me feel really disconnected from my family. I began to doubt who I was, I honestly doubted for a little my divine potential and my Heavenly Father’s love for me. Then one night I was sick of feeling this way. I prayed out loud harder than I have  ever prayed before it was more of a conversation with God because I was listening I wanted so badly for a confirmation of his love for me. After that prayer I was exhausted, the next day I got a blessing from my wonderful Grandpa and was strengthened. I was able to dive back into my life, I was able to focus on school, all of the doubt and loneliness I had felt left me. I realized that the only way I was able to overcome this experience was through atonement of Jesus Christ. Because he took that bitter cup, because he felt all of the pains I had felt and will ever feel he was able to take those burdens from me. He literally took my yoke upon himself. That is my story, I know that Christ lives, that he is our Savior not just at the judgement but right now, everyday He can succor us from our deepest sorrows.
Well there ya go people. This week I challenge you to think about your conversion stories and share them. If you have not yet had a conversion I challenge you to seek one. Conversion is a change for the better and I promise you that if you will pray to ask God if he is there and if he loves you He will answer. We are here on this earth to be tried but also to experience joy and as you seek for your own personal conversion you will find joy!

Okay back to the fun stuff:
President Ivory got these really cool video flyer things for the mission from the Rome Temple visitor's center. They are basically mini video screens with the Because of Him video uploaded to them. THEY ARE SO SICK! Romanians LOVE the video. also had an awesome, kind of funny experience with a lady that works in a magazine close to the church, we went in one day and this lady was in a horrific mood, she was so angry. Later on our way back to the church we went into the magazine (store) again and showed her and her colleague the Easter video on the video flyer. The spirit whooshed into that mega image and right as the video said "datorita lui" (because of him)  it died! Right in the middle of the video, the ladies were like “because of him what?”  It was hilarious, but then we just bore our testimony that because of Christ we can live again and find joy in this life. The lady's mood was visibly changed. The effect that even just thinking about Christ can have on our lives is incredible. We are planning on going back when the lady has a lunch break and talking to her more. Moral of the story Satan is everywhere even in our video flyers!

This week we went and visited Sora Olteanu, the branch president’s wife. We had a cool lesson with her. The members here are so so cool, they have such awesome stories. She told us of her love for the temple she has an incredible testimony of eternal families. The people here love the temple so so much but they only get to go once every couple of years. After the lesson they brought in their two two week old goats. Like the brought them into their house. The goats ran around and Rebecca their 18 month old daughter chased them around baaaaing (that is a goat sound) We think Rebecca is convinced she is a goat. It was adorable.

We also got invited to the birthday party of one of our English students. We had no idea what to expect but when we got there it was just us. They sat us down and grabbed some of their homemade vodka so we could toast to the birthday girl we explained that we don’t drink and they were totally okay with it but they insisted that we still do the whole cheers/nu roc clinking of glasses. The alcohol smelled so strong, but her family just took a sip and put it away so no one got drunk. It was fun we talked about the Book of Mormon with them and they invited us to come back. It is her, her boyfriend/husband and their gorgeous six month old baby girl. I am so excited to go back and teach them!

Another funny story, Sora Sayre and were in the foyer of Hotel Flora waiting for our ride. Hotel Flora is where all the Nigerian students live. We had had a couple of lessons over there and we were just waiting for the maxi taxi when all the Nigerians were walking down to dinner. A lot of them know who we are so they walked up and started talking to us. Sora Sayre and I have been learning Pigeon which is a sick version of informal English that all speak so we were showing off our pigeon skills and they were getting a kick out of it. This one guy walked up to us and said “Hello you two are very beautiful, I would like to talk to more I am in room 802 come and visit me.” Sora Sayre and I just kind of laughed and I was like “yeah for sure man, we will come by” little does he know that we will be bringing our Elder friends with us.

So yeah, it has been a pretty fun week. Peoples I love you all so much. I hope you find my emails entertaining and uplifting. If you guys have any questions about Romania or anything hit me up and I will try to answer them next time!
Cu Drag,
Sora Armstrong