Monday, May 25, 2015


Wow, this week literally blew my mind. My peoples Heavenly Father has a plan, sometimes that plan is not our plan but that plan is always the best way! So let me just tell you about my week.
This week we had so AWESOME lessons. The first were with Mercy, she has come so far. She is reading everyday and her testimony is so much farther along then it was a month ago. We had a lesson on temples with her. She has had quite a few close family members die and as we taught about ordinances for the dead the coolest spirit settled on us. It was so tender so full of love and Mercy could feel it. She committed to a baptism date of June 6! We are so excited for her, we went back later on last week and she had invited a friend to sit in on the lesson. She is truly converted now. Heavenly Father has definitely taught me a lesson of patience with Mercy, patience and trust in him. Last time I thought Mercy was ready but Heavenly Father knew she wasn't now I realize that she is so much more prepared to make these covenants. I am grateful for that heartbreak now my joy is so much fuller and I have gained so much more trust in my Father in Heaven. I really think she is going to do it!
Now the story of Alexandru. He is so ready, we really didn't even do anything. He is the son of an incredible member. I would love to tell this whole story it is truly incredible but I will try to give a synopsis. Georgetta, Alex's mom, is one of the most faithful members in Romania. She does her visiting teaching, she comes to church every single week even if it means not eating on Saturday so she can pay to come into the city from the town where she lives. She has been to the temple many times and the last time she was there she prayed so hard for Alex. Alex was going through a rough time he had fallen into some major addictions and because of those addictions he lost everything about two months ago. The first time we met with him we told him about Self Reliance and he met with the Strattons a senior couple and then had a lesson with Elders Brundage and Nango while in Buch. Then he came back to Constanta looking to take himself out of the destructive situation he was in. Since then he has stopped smoking and drinking coffee even before we taught him the Word of Wisdom, he has committed to living the commandments and he has even asked to speak on Sunday. He set a baptismal date for himself on Thursday and that is what we are moving towards. Alexandru will change the church here in Romania, he is a powerful human being, when he speaks people listen. He already has asked how he can be a good example to his friends and if he can invite them to his baptism. He used to work for a major news station in Buch and had his own show. This man is a builder.
Miracles are occurring because of the faith of the members here in Constanta. They are not content with the church in Romania they have a strong desire to build it. So many of our members are so obedient. They are constantly looking to share the gospel and God is rewarding their efforts. I am so humbled to be here at this time to see these miracles. I know that it is the sacrifice of these members and the will of God that is causing the church to grow here. I also know that it is not because of me that these things are happening. These people would not just take the word of two 19 year old's, the spirit has testified of the truth of these things into the hearts of Mercy and Alexandru and it has been a beautiful thing to watch!

Another cool experience of this week. As we were walking home the other night we saw a lady that lives in our block struggling to walk home. We offered her our arms and she grabbed onto me and Sora Mits. She has Parkinson's disease pretty bad, she was shaking so so bad at one point I was sure I was going to have carry her home. As we walked we just talked, every step caused her pain. It was such a humbling experience. I just felt this sadness and pain for this woman. As we got into the apartment that night the mood was pretty somber. As sora Mits and I talked about it we talked about Christ must feel. He literally felt our pains and sufferings and that sorrow we were feeling was probably just a fraction of what he feels for that woman. I am so grateful for that experience. I am grateful that I was allowed to feel that but sorrow for that woman. It wasn't a feeling a pity I just was so sad that someone had to deal with that. Can you imagine not being able to walk home? Christ KNOWS, he knows us, he knows how we feel, he hurts for us, he weeps at our pain. You are never alone! 

Things are HAPPENING here in Romania! Thank you for all your prayers and your love! The church is true.
Sora Armstrong


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

3 Stories......

What's up? How's life?
Life here in Constanta, Romania is pretty sick. Whenever I start these emails I have to think back to the week I have had and everytime I do, the amount of experiences we go through each week shocks me. In the last seven days, I have probably talked to over 60 different people, drawn the Plan of Salvation in three different parks, caught a ridiculous amount of buses, taxis etc., taught English twice, eaten a delicious pastry called Covrig, invited a group of 10 people to repent without using priests (that one was intense), been thanked for what I am doing here, I have also been told to leave the country because of what I am doing here. People I have done so much more than that I just can't put it all into words. I LOVE it. Missions are funny because we are constantly planning but our plans are also constantly unraveling so we are always on our feet, trying to figure out how to be the most effective. Especially this week. Last week we had three different people tell us they had the desire to be baptized then this week we met with one of them. But that is okay people have agency. Agency is insanely frustrating to plan with but I know that when people use their agency to close the door to the gospel Heavenly Father uses miracles to open new doors.
Some Stories:
It was one of our favorite english students birthday on saturday so we made him a cake and brought a happy birthday banner to english. Then after class we all played games and celebrated with him. When we brought out the banner he sat down and said "I will try not to cry." Considering that this guy is 24 years old 5'11" and probably 200 lbs of muscle it was a really cute tender moment. One of the coolest parts about serving in a country where not a lot of people know about the church is when they first meet us and start spending time with us they feel so good but they have no idea why, so we get to explain it. So yeah that was really fun, at the party we played the game "Big Booty" which requires repeating the words Big Booty a lot and hearing a bunch of Romanians repeat that over and over in their accent is hilarious.
Story Number 2
We took a book out of Sora tebas and Anderson's book and did some grateful list contacting. We would walk up to people and ask them to write down what they are most grateful for. Sora Mits has been doing awesome in the language and sp we are taking turns making contacts now. We walked to this older couple talking to a security guard in the park we just smiled and said Buna but as we walked past the lady looked at us and said "Staiti! (wait)" So we turned around and she grabbed sora Mits nose and said "scumpa mea" which translates to my expensive but actually means my cutie. So Sora Mits took that as the opportunity to contact them. They kind of missed the point of the activity and ended up writing us a note telling us that they were thankful for us and to always smile, then the security guard wrote us a poem, (he may have been a little tipsy so the poem is interesting) we talked with the couple a little about putting Christ at the center of our lives and it was a solid conversation. They wife just kept saying "bravo, bravo, frumos" It was super funny. They wished lots of health and good as we split ways the husband also told us to stay away from the guard so that was nice. I love contacting because we almost always get to bear testimony and we almost always come back with some hilarious stories.
Story Number 3
We met with Mercy twice this week, she is doing awesome! We ran through the baptism questions with her and she bore testimony to us of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It is amazing to see how much she had progressed from the time I met her. I have gotten to the point where I can just be 100% honest with her and it is awesome. We don't feel nervous about discussing baptism and she is 100% honest with us and it makes this whole inviting her unto Christ a lot easier. It is all about communication people!! Mercy has been reading from the Book of Mormon and it is changing her life! I take no credit for where Mercy is at right now. She is finding joy not through us but through the Book of Mormon and we are just along for the ride and I am so grateful to be here for it/
Branch Update
The Constanta branch is AWESOME!! We have three incredible families, that come to church every week! We have about 35 each week. The sacrament room is getting full, I can totally see Constanta having a real chapel very soon. Our branch president is a solid guy. He was baptized 5 years ago and now holds the keys to building the branch here in Constanta, that is pretty crazy huih? We were talking about it the other day and we realized that pretty much every member in Romania is a convert. Every single member has had incredible conversion stories and I am so grateful for their examples. I will a different member of this church when I get home I know that for sure!
Food for thought
Faith. What exactly is faith and how can we develop more? Faith to me is consistently being obedient to the commandments of Heavenly Father even if we don't see results immediately or even for months. Faith is a trust and confidence that if we are doing what God has asked us to do we are doing what is right. Even when what He has asked us to do is hard, really hard. Faith is stepping into the darkness, that darkness is different for all of us, for us right now that darkness is contacting everytime we walk up to someone we are putting everything on the line, our pride, our religion, all the things we care about most we just put them out there and we have faith that God will fill our mouths and lead us to those prepared people. In order to grow our faith we have to continually step into that darkness. For others that darkness could be beginning to read the Book of Mormon, or going to college, or getting baptized or married, or it could be as simple as getting down on our knees and praying to God.
Family, friends, homies I beg you to grow your faith, take a step into the darkness TRUST that God will be there and that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is those steps in the darkness that lead us to a greater joy than we can ever imagine I promise!
Va Iubesc!
Sora Armstrong

Monday, May 11, 2015

3 Awesome Things

First one, I got to talk to Sora Barrera! She is so freaking cute!! She gave me some awesome advice. The people I have had the opportunity to serve with here have each changed my life for the better. I have been so blessed to have amazing companions every single transfer! They all love me so much, and just push me to better. 
Second awesome thing, I had THE BEST exchange ever with my good friend Sora Sayre. She is one amazing human being. We had two inbcredible lessons with Alesea and Mercy. We talked about baptism in both lessons and we got to bear powerful testimony of Christ and this Gospel. The Spirit was so so so strong. It is amazing the power that missionaries posees when they are doing everything they can to be obedient, that is one major lesson that Sora's Barrera and Sayre have taught me.
Third awesome thing, we went to have a lesson with Sora Ducea this week. She is a less active member of the church that we have been working with. As we walked in, both Sora Mits and I turned to each other and we were like - Sora Ducea should come contacting with us. We suggested the idea to her and she was pretty excited about it. We went to a park near her bloc and just started talking to people. It was so cool to hear her bearing her testimony to random people. Sometimes I think we as missionaries can be bold because we are foreign. These people that we are talking with are not really our people, so it hurts less if we get rejected but Sora Ducea did not care. She boldly bore her testimony to a bunch of different people and we had some awesome experiences! Sora Mits and I have started introducing ourselves by our first names, it is a new contacting approach to just get to know people on a personal basis. While we were with Sora Ducea we introduced ourselves as Courtney and Brittany and the man we were talking to was like "no you are now Elena and you are now Maria, when you are in Romania these are your names." So I am now Elena haha. Romanians have a really hard time with my name so I think I might just start introducing myself as "Anna". 
So yeah, lots of amazing things happened this week. God hears our prayers and He answers them in His time and in His way. I hope everyone had an amazing Mother's day. I just wanted to say thank you to all those women that have been incredible examples to me of woman of faith. To all my aunts, my Grandma, my Grandmom, my past leaders, and past teachers and coaches you have all changed my life.....thank you so much for that!
Love you!
Sora Elena Armstrong

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Open Your Mouth"

G'day mates!
Can you tell I have been working on my Aussie accent? It has been another insane week! I got a gnarly tan line the other day and everybody gave me a hard time about it at Zone Conference, even President was like "I hope you are staying away from the beach Sora Armstrong." I was like "I am I promise!" We have been doing a lot of English contacting in parks so we are outside a lot. The weather is getting so nice and I am so excited for SUMMER. 
We had so many awesome things happen to us this week. Last Monday we were grocery shopping and Sora Mits and I went to grab some toilet paper and we heard these people speaking in English and we were like ENGLISH? what? So we tried speaking in English super loud to see if they would say anything and they didn't so we just asked them where they were from. They were just as shocked to hear us speaking in English it was way funny. They are here studying medicine. One of them, Sen, is from London and she was pretty impressed we know Romanian. We told her we would love to help her out with it. She is actually working in a Romanian hospital right now and cannot speak Romanian at all. How crazy is that? We met with her and had an awesome lesson. We talked about our beliefs and her beliefs (she is Muslim) She is super open and just so much fun to talk to. She came to church this Sunday and brought a friend who we are going to meet with this week! It was such a miracle and Sora Mits loves it because now she isn't the only one with an accent! They all love to pick on the American but it's okay because I can hold my own. 
Another super cool miracles this week happened on Saturday. We didn't have any lessons planned which is super rare and I was not excited about it. I felt like I had so many awesome opportunities to teach my first two transfers and I want Sora Mits to have the same experience. But if there is one thing I learned from my amazing trainer is that through faith you can make lessons happen. We said a prayer before leaving the flat that we would find someone to teach. We decided to walk by a park by our flat that had been full of families the day before. We walk up to the park and there are like two people there. So we decide to just walk through and head to the church to drop some stuff off. I was so frustrated I felt like we had prayed with faith we had done our part now where were the people? As we began to walk I just got this overwhelming feeling of "There are people here there are 2 people here go OPEN YOUR MOUTH." I was a little bit of a scolding but it was exactly what I needed. Before I knew it we walked up to this lady on a bench and asked her a language question she scooted over and told is to "luati loc" which means sit down.  And we had an awesome lesson with her about eternal families. It was so cool. My friends Heavenly Father is there, He hears and answers our prayers, sometimes I am sure He must get frustrated. I had such a bad attitude when we walked up to that park. We are so imperfect and I feel so inadequate to be sharing this gospel but it really isn't me, it is the Lord and the Spirit that is doing the teaching. Sora Mits and I just kinda sit there and smile and do our best to speak Romanian. 
Okay also another AWESOME thing that happened this week was Zone Conference. I got to see all the homies except Sora B which was sad because I miss her a lot but she is on fire in Chisinau right now. Anyway I got to see Sora Allen who is killing it, literally that girl can make laugh so hard it is ridiculous and then Sora Sayre who is just so awesome. I have been so blessed to have been surrounded by so many amazing people my entire mission. 
President Ivory invited his friends the Barbages (not sure if that is how you spell it) to come speak to us. Sora Barbage told this awesome story about Abish from the story of Ammon and then Brother Barbage spoke about what we need to do to be successful. He said "the answer to the question What can I do to be successful can be answered by another question, What do you do when you don't have anything else to do?" I LOVE that. As humans we must always be progressing that it what success is, it is constantly improving so what we do with our time is SO SO important. That is the question that I am going to leave you with What do you do, when you don't have anything else to do?
I love you all so much, thank you for all responses to the hope questions, keep them coming! 
Va iubesc!
Sora Armstrong