Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Goodbyes Are The Worst!!!!

Hello my family,
WOW. So I found out this last week that I would be leaving from Constanta. I have actually known since last Wednesday. It was rough because I knew all these lessons would be my last. We had some awesome lessons especially with Mercy and Familia Olteanu. With Mercy, we talked about prophets and modern revelation. As we sat there in her hotel room, all these memories flooded back. We have come full circle with her. I remember just sitting there begging Heavenly Father to testify to Mercy's heart that he has a prophet on the Earth today and that his authority has been restored. I remembered when Mercy just could not accept that fact and my heart broke. But then I remembered when Mercy looked at me and said "I think I am going do it". Then I remembered her baptism and the powerful spirit that was there. Then talking to her after she got back from the temple and feeling that spirit of the temple with her. Then sitting there and listening to Mercy testify of Prophets  and of the authority of God being on the earth. She testified to us of the fact that this is the only true church because it has the authority of God. We have literally come full circle, I feel like I learn from her when we go and it is AWESOME! MAN I LOVE THAT GIRL and now I cannot see her every week and I do not even know what to do!
Goodbyes are the worst my friends. But here are some happy things that happened this week. Lacra got BAPTIZED!!!! It was beautiful. She was the other soras investigator but she is like my best friend. She is one of the purest people I know. The first time I met her at english I just felt this spirit. She is beautiful one of the little girls in the branch thinks she is a princess but yeah as soon as I started talking to her I just was like she is going to get baptized! And guess what she did! It was amazing. She chose to have it in the black sea and the night was just perfect. Lacra faced so much opposition this last week before the baptism and seeing her be so courageous to take this step has been a huge example to me. This gospel is so WORTH IT PEOPLE! It was just so peaceful as we were walking back on the beach Lacra said "I was so cold but now I am so warm" Sora Trebas and I were like yeah that is the SPIRIT! It was seriously just beautiful I cannot really describe it. Then Liviu bore his testimony at the baptism about how much this gospel has helped him and how we have to the little things. Sora Armstrong and I gave him a tie as a going away present and he loved it, he even pooped me which means kissed me on my cheeks.
Saying goodbye to the branch was rough I just wanted them to understand how grateful I was to them and the impact they have made on my life. I got to bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting and I may have shed a tear up there. They all wished me lots of success and gave me lots of kisses. I just kept saying thank you so much thank you for everything. I honestly do not think I got called here because the people need me but because I need the people. The people of this branch have changed my life, they are my family. I will be so much better because of the examples they have shown me. I cannot describe the affect these people have had on my life. I cannot imagine Sunday without them but I am excited for my next adventure.
I have been so blessed up to this point in my mission. I have served with amazing people. Saying goodbye to Sora Armstrong is not going to be easy at all. I love that girl so much. She has taught me so much about how to rely on the Spirit, and turn to the Lord in times of need. She is so ready to take on this area and I would not want to leave it to anyone else.
Well my family and friends, that is it from Romania I will hit you up with that Moldova Spirit next week!
Sora Armstrong

Monday, September 21, 2015


Buna, buna, buna,
It has been a full week of running away from the police. doing a little bit of stalking and and preaching the gospel. Such a solid combination.
We had zone conference this week so we headed down to Bucuresti on our favorite 5:30  am train. We decided to race the elders to the train station so everyone got there with plenty of time to spare. The elders won but they cheated so it didn't count. Zone Conference was AMAZING!!!!! Sora Ivory shared with us this children's book called Pierre I care I think I think we have it at home but I am not sure if not GO BUY IT. It is about this boy who says I don't care to everything until he gets eaten by a lion and then he starts caring. Sora Ivory talked with us about apathy and how poisionious it is. I have never really relized this concept before but wow is it so true. When we care about what we are doing we do such a better job. Sora Ivory talked about Good Better Best and how abolut as we grow to care about who we are as people and the journey of growth that we are on we start to be our BEST. Apathy is such a dangerous trap of the advesary. Love is the greatest motivator of all and apathy is the absence of love. We each of "lions" in our own lives, we each have things that we don't care about, maybe because we are too scared to open up our hearts maybe it is because we have been hurt before and we don't want to start caring again or maybe we are scared of failure nothing is wore than failing at something we care so much about. BUT WE HAVE TO CARE!!!! We gotta open up our hearts, we gotta strive to be our best no matter the risks because that is who we are. We are children of God who LOVES all men perfectly we are here on earth because of LOVE. So if we lose that love if we stop to care. We get EATEN. We become selfish we lose our purpose and nothing is more frustrating than a journey without direction. When we strive to care about all those around us we strive to be our best for them. I wake up at 6:30 every morning because I CARE about these people, I study and plan and pray for guidance and direction because I CARE about these people. Missionary work has become so much easier and so much more worth it the more I start to care. My challenge to you my friends and family is to pick something you need to care more about and start to work at it, it could be temple attendance, scripture study, a relationship, school etc. Find a reason to care and let that caring turn into love and I promise that love will motivate you to do your very best and that is what our Father in Heaven expects of us.
Okay I have now stepped off my soap box. Story time, we decided this week that the members needed a nice reminder to read the Book of Mormon so we each made a dessert and met for district meeting to decide who and where to take it to. As we talked I realized I knew pretty much every single one of our members schedules, when they would be home, where they would be at certain times and when they most prefer us to visit them I was like wow I have been here awhile. We were sitting in district meeting and two people walked into the church I walked out and said "Buna" then I realized they both had these badges in their hands that said politia or police I was like uhhhhhh. They asked me if I spoke romanian and I said yes and they said we need to speak with you, at the point my mind whirred back to all of the posible things they could have to talk to us about. All of they places we had drawn in chalk, all of the people we had talked to, all of the blocs we had kind of entered without really having permission from anyone living there. All I said was about what? Then I was like actually here talk to the district leader. So he went out and started talking to them then he was like Sora Armstrong they need you and I was ready to jump out the window and run but I was like dang I can't leave my companion. So I start talking to them and it turns out a member who had been asked not to come to church a year ago had kidnapped her son and ran away with him so they were trying to find her and her ex husband told them she was a member of our church so they paid us a visit. I explained that the member had caused some major problems in the branch and did not have permission to come back here so we had never spoken to her and knew nothing about where she would be. They were kind of skeptical at first. The church is still new here in Romania and sometimes people do not quite understand that our sole purpose is simply to come to Christ through faith in him repentance baptism receiving the holy ghost and enduring to the end. The whole thing was resolved and the ended up finding her in Brasov so it all worked out.
Things are going so well in Constanta these members are incredible and miracles just keep on happening. I had an awesome conversation in english about families. I showed a picture of my family and they said wow you are all so happy. That segwayed into the fact that we are happy becuae of the gospel and I ended up getting to share the Book of Mormon with one of our cute english students. She dresses like Grandma I love it! 
Sorry fambam that is all I have time for this week but I love you guys and never forget to CARE!
Sora Armstrong
Our one year celebration dinner at this awesome restaurant. They gave us blankets because it was kinda chilly.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Romania is Rockin'!!!

Hey hey fambam!
How is life? Life in Romania is ROCKIN' Every night right before I fall asleep, I go over my day and every night I am just "really we did all that just today" I LOVE IT. 
We got to see Mercy fresh home from the Frankfurt, Germany temple. She was GLOWING! I could not stop smiling as she told us of all of her adventures. She just loved it. She was so impressed by how kind everyone was. She said she felt like she was in a "royal house" and everyone that greeted her treated her like royalty. Props to my temple worker friends in Frankfurt for taking care of my girl Mercy. As she told us about doing the baptisms for her family this spirit just settled over the room and she showed us all of the pink and blue cards with the check marks. it was SO COOL. She was just about to start really telling us how it was when one of her friends walked in. We started talking with him, the conversation ended up on God's love for us. Then out of nowhere he started quoting scripture from the bible at us about the Law of Moses and how it been fulfilled and the spirit was gone and I was like "here we go Nigerian bible bashing this always makes my head hurt" So he then proceeded to tell us that the law of tithing is not a commandment and if we keep that law we have to keep the whole law of Moses. My favorite was when Mercy perfectly taught him the law of the tithe where it came from and why we do it. I was like "you go mercy!" I felt so proud. I think the Preach My Gospel should that say that if you want to check for recent converts understanding of the gospel just have them talk with someone that questions the church.....it is more effective than asking questions. Okay maybe that is not a good idea, but Mercy understands the law of the tithe, so that is good. We ended up just testifying to our Nigerian friend of modern revelation and challenged him to ask God if God would call another prophet to this earth. I was the most bold I have ever been in English and I might have scared Sora Armstrong a little but I was not going to let him bust in there right after Mercy had gotten back from the temple and start giving her doubts, that was not going to happen. I am so grateful that Sora Armstrong always has my back no matter what haha.
We also had another awesome sacrament meeting I spoke but that was not why it was awesome. Funny story during my talk Rebecca Olteanu the branch president's 2 year old daughter walks out from behind me and walks up to Sora Armstrong who is on the front row like 3 feet away from me. Becca yells UITE! Which means LOOK! and frisbees this empty phone case at Sora Armstrong, Sora Armstrong like spazed out and all of hair just went flying and Becca just walked away. I started cracking up in the middle of my talk. So then everyone started laughing and Becca got removed from the sacrament room. Once I regained my composure I finished and then Gabi spoke. He is the district Sunday school president at the age of 21! He is an awesome guy and he spoke about how when our lives get busy our scripture study starts slipping. He testified about the power of opening the scriptures even in our busiest moments. He works in a pizza restaurant and he while of his work buddies taking smoking breaks he takes Book of Mormon breaks. It was so cool to hear is testimony and I think it made a big impact on the branch. I feel like Heavenly Father is sick of hearing us say "I don't have time" He created time! There is no way he would not give us enough of it! There are so many blessings just waiting to be grabbed if we will MAKE time for this gospel. My challenge for you all my friends is MAKE time for the things that matter most! 
I love you all and have an awesome week!
Sora Armstrong

Monday, September 7, 2015

Kid's Meals, Coke, and Testimonies

Hey my friends!
How is life? Is everyone back in school? School doesn't start until the middle of September here so there are still people ALL OVER Constanta which is great for contacting, but not so great for getting to lessons on time.
This week was AWESOME as usual. We really focused on our members and finding new people. We took some treats to a sora in the branch for her birthday, but we got there and she had ice cream, cookies and a cake waiting for US. I was like it is your birthday and she was like yes but YOU guys are the missionaries. It was so cute. We also took them my favorite firework candles but they wouldn't let us set it off in the house. Weird..
Anyway, our English Classes started this week. The soras are teaching advanced class. It is so fun especially because I have taught nothing but old men for the last three transfers. Do not get me wrong, I love our retirement club but we had some cool teenage girls come and it was so fun to just talk to them and get to know them. Two of them play handibol. I have been trying to learn handibol forever so I asked them to teach us how to play and they said they would. This week Sora Armstrong and I are excited to meet with lots of new people and start new friendships. It also means we get to teach the restoration which I am STOKED for.
Some funny stories of the week, the other day we bonded with this older man on the bus because of this other drunk guy that kept on yelling at us. We saw him again a couple days later and invited him to meet with us. We met at McDonald's and he said hold on I will go and get you guy's something. He walks back out with 2 HAPPY KID'S MEALS. I just about died. It was so cute. So we sat there talking about our purpose as representatives of Jesus Christ while eating french fries out of a box with barbie on it.
We had another visit with Fratele Vitel this week and wow was it quite a ride. The elders had called him and tried to set up with him and he said he was busy until October but the Soras Armstrong being the competitive humans we are thought we could change his mind so we called him up. I know that it has always killed you mom and dad that I would never take the answer no as the last answer but I think it is actually a spiritual gift because he told us the same thing but after some buttering up and a 10 minute phone call we had an appointment. It was super fun we went with the other soras and he took us to the top of his blok where you can see all of Constanta. Up there, as I was looking out, it hit me how much I LOVE this city. It has become my home and one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. I have felt deeper lows and higher highs here than I thought I could ever feel. I have fallen in love with it. Anyway, we go back down to have the lesson and he pulls two huge bottles of Fanta and pours us each giant glasses. Guys I DO NOT LIKE SODA so every time he walked out of the room Sore Armstrong would grab my cup and just start chugging whatever was left in it then he would just fill it right back up. THEN when all the fanta was gone he left us in his apartment alone and went and go two big things of Coke Zero. For a transfer I watched Sora Allen down coke zero so I was like oh it cannot be that bad. So I take a sip and THAT STUFF IS DISGUSTING. At this point we are getting up to leave and he says you can't leave until you finish your soda. I just looked at Sora Trebas and she just smiles back and says go for it man. So I had to chug this entire glass of coke freaking zero. Let me tell you my friends NEVER AGAIN!
BUT what made that whole experience worth it was Sacrament meeting!!! Fratele Vitel bore his testimony about the principles of the gospel and how he loves them and the blessings he has seen in his life when he keeps them and that is exactly what we talked about in the lesson. Testimony meeting was AWESOME Sunday is always my favorite day of the week! Liviu bore a beautiful testimony about the blessings that the gospel has brought to his life about how he has changed and about how happy he is and the peace that comes from it. He even told all the investigators that were in the congregation to get baptized. haha I was like that is my guy! Then Alexandru bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon and Mercy is at the temple and I just feel like such a proud parent. But I am also fully aware that I had very little to do with the conversion of these three INCREDIBLE humans. Something that was reiterated to me this week is the importance of the spirit. It is truly the teacher and the Atonement of Christ is the changer. As we learn through the spirit the atonement of our Savior allows us to change our spirits. My invitation to all of you my beloved friends and family is to seek that changing power, strive to have that spirit present in your life each and everyday. The Book of Mormon can be the number one source of that spirit.
Guess What? I LOVE THIS COUNTRY I love every stray dog and cat, every orthodox priest, every cute old lade that wishes us health and tells us to wear to socks in 90 degree weather. I LOVE IT ALL. These people have changed my life, I will be forever indebted to them for the things they have given me. Their sacrifices for this gospel are written and my heart.
Thanks for reading! Have a great week
Sora Armstrong

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Romanian Elevators

Hey hey hey!
So this week was one of those weeks where when I look back on it I am like "yep I for sure in Romania" 
GUYS I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!!!!! This week Sora Armstrong put her family history skills to work and tackled the names of Mercy and Sora Ghiman late family members to get them ready for the temple. I think she did around 45 names in all, and believe me doing work for people in Nigeria and Romania is not as easy as doing American names. At first it was hard on me because we were inside a lot. We tried getting branch members involved but nobody else could take care of it. But Sora Ghiman came on Wednesday night and we showed her the names and this smile lit across her face. She jumped up and hugged Sora Armstrong, when I saw that a thought entered into my mind that even though we weren't out on the streets talking to people we were still doing missionary work. Then Mercy came later on in the week and we showed her her names and she had her interview after the interview she burst out of the office and just grabbed us both and hugged us and just said how excited she was to go to the temple and how much it meant her to be able to take the names of her family members and again I felt the sweetest spirit. In our lesson this week Mercy bore testimony of the hope that the temple gives her. That when she is missing her family and wants to cry she thinks of how through the temple she will see them again. As we talked about the temple I got to feel a little bit of that special spirit that we feel there, I miss that spirit a lot. But after seeing the smiles on Sora Ghiman and Mercy's face as we printed out there family member's names I also just felt so grateful that I get to be here in this incredible country at such a pivotal time. I just want to say again what a whiz Sora Armstrong is at familysearch.org she is seriously such a champ and put with all my cabin fever grumpiness. Also my friends and family GO TO THE TEMPLE but also FIND NAMES to take with you. Sora Ghiman had to go all over Romania looking for her family names it is got to be easier for you guys in the states, make a call to your mom/grandma/great aunt ask them to tell you stories about your relatives and then just explain we believe we can be with our families FOREVER after this life, ask them for their permission to do service for their passed on loved ones in the temple. BE BOLD it will be worth it and Heavenly Father will soften the hearts of those that you work with.
Okay next miracle. We went and visited a member from Bacau that has just married a man that lives a little bit outside of Constanta when we got there her new granddaughter was there. We had planned on talking about the Book of Mormon w
ith the member but I had the feeling that we should teach the full restoration so we did! It was powerful and we committed her granddaughter and husband to reading the book together. MEMBERS are the key my friends!! MIracles are happening here people are being prepared and Heavenly Father will not let this work be stopped.
Now to explain my subject line. This week we all went to visit a less active member that has been coming a lot more often. The whole district went because we wanted to show how grateful we are for him. So the Soras headed to his tenth floor apartment in the lift and the elders decided to race us up the stairs. Let me just say I REALLY DO NOT LIKE Elevators but they made me get in so I did. We were all squished in and around the third floor the lift just STOPS. Sora Trebas and Sora Armstrong immediately start freaking out, Sora Trebas starts going off about all the worst case scenarios, (which is the worst possible thing to do in a situation like that) Sora Armstrong calls the elders, Sora Green is just in the corner like "Oh my gosh is this really happening?" and I start hitting all the buttons on the panel to no avail. The doors to the lift were just this wooden cupboard type doors so I opened them and it turns out we are right in the middle of the wall and the metal door leading to freedom. But in order to open the metal door there is this lever that normally the lift triggers as it arrives at the level but we were still about 4 feet below it. Sora Armstrong reaches her arm up to pull the lever and Sora Trebas is like "You are gonna cut your hand off!!!" but sora Armstrong risks it anyway and gets the lever  door opens to our elders who are just standing there looking down at us. Elder Jardine has this dead serious look on his face and says "If you guys try to climb out you will get cut in half" I am like whatever how is that even a thing and I am so sick of everyone being so dramatic that I decide to shake things up so I jump and the lift kinda falls down a little bit but not really and everyone starts screaming at me. So then the Romanians come out of their apartments and they are like just climb out and I am like what they said so I climb out and everything is fine no one got cut in half and we had a great lesson with Fratele Vitel. 
We had another fun experience with our friend Sora Corinna this week. She is a less active that says it is too hot to come to church and yes it is hot but not too hot to renew your baptismal covenants. Sora Corinna is very devoted to helping Sora Armstrong speak the language better so she tells me to be quiet in lessons and makes Sora Armstrong teach the whole thing. Sora Armstrong does teach the whole thing and does awesome at it. Recently Sora Corinna has come under the impression that I look Japanese so she started calling me Samurai. During lessons she will look at me and say hey samurai and then karate chop the air. This week during the lesson I started do my part of the lesson and she looks at me says "Be quiet Genghis" and does a karate chop I was so shocked she had called me Genghis Khan I just said "Poftim" Which means excuse me?! She started cracking up and would not stop laughing so now I am Genghis Khan. Sora Armstrong thinks it is hilarious too so she likes to call me that too. 
One last miracle of the week familia Fotea came to Constanta!!!!!!! It was so good to see them. They are such a solid family. Being with them and the Constantinescus at the same time just made me so grateful for the caliber of people I get to be around here in Romania. Both Fratele Fotea and Presidentele Constantinescu are in the district presidency which is the equivalent to stake presidency here in the Bucuresti District and wow are they INCREDIBLE men. We talked about the Book of Mormon and they just got so excited. We talked about how the book encourages us to see the best in others, it is not only a book of doctrine but it can help us grow closer to Christ by teaching us how to be more like him. Fratele Fotea led the discussion being with their family just reminded me of my first couple of months in Romania. They are truly some of the strongest saints.... ever!
Life is good, I LOVE being a missionary, I LOVE this gospel, and I LOVE you all!
Sora Genghis Khan
Fratele Vitel
                                                       Trapped in an Romanian Elevator