Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baptisms, Apostles & My People

I cannot express to you the emotions I have had this past week.First of all my biggest take away from this week- God loves the Romanian and Moldovan people so much and He is working miracles here. He has a plan for these two small but strong countries.I am grateful that I am on His team because we are going to win. My new favorite President Ivory quote is we will never go undefeated but we will always be champions. This week has had lots of victories and some heavy losses but we gotta focus on the victories.
We did not email Monday because we were getting ready for Elder Ballard. We had this sign made with some of his quotes and set it up in Centru and just did our best to let all of Chisinau know that an apostle of Lord was coming to speak to us. It was CRAZY windy so one of us had to stand behind the poster to hold it while the others talked to people. Sora Black almost got blown away a couple of times and by the end of it I could not feel my hands. 
Then tuesday, Presient Ivory flew into Chisinau and we had interviews with him, I may have made a joke concerning the Utah Utes and the pride cycle from the Book of Mormon in my interview. Then that night there was a BAPTISM! It was this incredible couple Cristian and Inesa. They have been learing about the church since the summer and are literally the most together couple I know, I love them so much! Cris is a lawyer, he came straight to the baptism from a case where he had beat the best lawyer in all of Chisinau (can you say blessings) Inesa is a translator, she speaks russian, romanian, english and manderin chinese nbd. They are so so sweet and just love this gospel. We have had the opportunity to visit with Inesa and talk to her about her testimony of the gospel and why she  has chosen to make this decision to be baptized. She told us about the positive impact that this church has made in their lives and how she just knows the principals are true. Funny story one time we were out with Inesa talking about scripture study and I said before my mission I had a hard time reading the scriptures everyday adn I look at Sora Black and I was how were you? And Sora Black goes I read them everyday since I was 12 and I was just like wow thanks for showing me up, so then I told Ines to be like Sora Black not like me. Ines thought that was pretty funny. Their baptism was BEAUTIFUL no it wasn't in the black sea but there was a POWERFUL spirit! There were so many people there from both branches and there was investigators there too. President Ivory spoke about the first time he met Cris and Inesa in a park with the missionaries. Then Cris and Inesa both bore the most powerful testimonies about the truth of the gospel and how much happier they are and how they are ready to help build Moldova. I am just so grateful that I can call this amazing couple my friends, they are going to have a huge impact on the growth of the church here in Moldova.
      Wednesday we showed up at the church at 10 and Cris is sweeping the floor to get ready for Elder Ballard one of the best lawyers in all of Chisinau is at the church cleaning up! He is just so humble and so cool, he also got to drive Elder Ballard around which is way cool. We ended up cleaning all that morning, we were told that the bathrooms needed to be as clean as Marriot Hotel bathroom.
        Then HE CAME!!!! We were outside the church directing people inside and up pulls Cris and the Ivory's and the Kearons (the area president and his wife) and Elder Ballard. As soon as he got out of the car he walked right up to Sora Black and me and shakes our hand and asks us where we are from. He is seriously the cutest, fiestiest little guy. The meeting was incredible we fit over 100 people into our little vila (house converted to a church building) President Ivory and President Kearon and their wives spoke and they were all so BOLD they talked about how through baptism we can have the feelings that we were feeling all the time. The set up the spirit for Elder Ballard. Then Elder Ballard stands up and teaches the Plan of Salvation and the restoration intertwined into one talk. it was BEAUTIFUL. During the first part I was so so sad I had a super hard time feeling the spirit becuase NONE of our people were there. We had invited so many people and had contacted for hours and no one that we had talked to was there. I was sitting on the floor becuase there were no chairs left and I stood up for a little bit and I feel someone grab my hand and it is DINA! She had come in a little late. I went from almost crying out of sadness to almost crying out of joy. Then when Elder Ballard spoke I was so relieved, I could feel the spirit so strong. Elder Ballard had all the missionaries stand up after he taught about Joseph Smith and he said these yooung kids are servants of the Lord jesus Christ if you want to find out if what I am saying is true talk to them. He said then tonight go home and pray and ask God if what I am saying is true and when you get your answer be baptized and receive all of the blessings that are waiting for you. It was so so so POWERFUL AND BOLD and as I was standing there it just hit me, like WOW I am a servant of Jesus Christ this is HIS message. Elder Ballard was so bold about baptism, he would say stuff like "why did the missionaries come? because this gospel is true!" "The message that God calls prophets is not crazy he has been doing it since adam" Then after the meeting we all went out and took a picture with him and he shook hands with Sevghi who is preparing to go on a mission and I said Elder Ballard she is going to be the best missionary Moldova has ever seen and he said " No you're all the best missionaries ever now go baptize!" It was hilarious, he was just so blunt.
    Then we caught a flight to Bucuresti and made it to the last 30 minutes of his talk there. The best part about that was ythe fact that ALL MY PEOPLE WERE THERE. Okay not all of them BUT I got to see Familia Fotea and Musat I got to see Razvan who got baptized while I was in Ploiesti I got to see Alesea and Fratele Ciurdrea familia constantinescu and his mom. Radu simon, Anca Ghiman. It was AMAZING. OH AND LACRA too. Did I take any pictures no becuase I am an Idiot I was just SO EXCITED. I did not know I could ever feel this way about so many people, I was hugging people like crazy and almost crying out of joy again and the sprit was just so strong. Elder Ballard shook Lacra's hand and just told her to keep progressing in the gospel and that her life will be so blessed because of it. Then he told Alin Constantinescu's mom to just get baotized already and to have Alin do it. I told her I would be there if she did it. If you don't remember her we gave our heart and sould to her in Constanta and now she is progressing! Back to how much I love these people. I cannot put it into words but I would do anything for these people. It was so good to just refeel those connections especially people like the foteas and musats who I could barely communicate with. When I first got to Romania all I wanted was my home temecula ward I beeged Heavenly Father to change my heart to help me love these people and wow did he help me change my heart. I hope when I get home He will halp me love you guys agauin becuase I cannot imagine loving anymore people the way I love these people. haha jk I still love you guys. 
This is the longest email I have ever sent but my heart is just so full. Elder Ballard gave us a lot of instruction on what we need to do to help these people move towards baptism.
I know that God sent him to us at this time because He knows how much these people are sacrificing, he knows that these countries are ready to commit to this gospel and I am so humbled by the opportunity I had to witness that spirit, to see an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ interact with my favorite people. I am so grateful to be here. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ lives, that He is so vary aware of each one of us, that as we invite souls to come onto him and as sould come unto him it makes his atonement worth it. Elder Ballard said that. As we choose to utilize that incredible gift our Savior gave us, it makes all the pain he felt worth it. My friends and family Christ has called his apostles in the latter-days, no times are not easy, thay are having to make some very serious decisions that we may not always agree with BUT they are Christ's chosen servants the calls they make, the instructions they give are those that Chirst would have us receive. I testify to you that they are never wrong. I do not say this becuase Elder Ballard told me he is an apostle, I testify of this because I felt it, because I prayed to know if he is chosen of God and I found out that he is a living apostle of Jesus Christ. If you question their guidance, if you do not agree with how they choose to deal with the oppostion that is mounting I invite you, I beg you to ask God if they are his chosen servants and have a desire to receive an answer. 
I love you all to the moon and back, 
Sora Armstrong

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