Saturday, March 30, 2013

First week in Romania

Well if you can't tell already I'm pretty excited to be here! It was a really really really long flight over and basically I think that's the only bad news I have! Oh also we met one of the sister missionaries dads at the airport. He was so excited and took a picture with us. He told us that his daughter Sora Ewell would be training on of us! Which is good! Somehow though because my last name starts with an S I was always sitting by myself. On the last plane I asked the guy if we could switch. He was really nice about it and said he would. Thank goodness, haha I was a little anxious and nervous about being in a place I had never been and speaking a language that... well I don't know very well. The last flight I was reading my Romanian Book of Mormon to calm my nerves and to just practice Romanian when I felt this guy sitting in front of us staring at us "speaking" Romanian. Sora Petterson and I started talking to him and he was super nice we talked about religion and had a cool religious discussion, so we gave him a pass along card. Sora Case and Sora Adams were across the row though and took my Book of Mormon and gave it to a guy right on the plane! It was awesome he was so interested and just started reading it right away. He wanted to meet with the missionaries but he is going to Saudia Arabia next week... I hope I spelled that right. Anyways it was cool.

So we met our Mission President and his wife Sora Hill. They are WONDERFUL! Sora Hill is so funny she is just filled with spunk and attitude and she just makes me laugh! President Hill is so unbelievably nice I love them so much already. They really love the people and they love us. How wonderful that is that they just LOVE! We went up to this Park where Romania was dedicated for missionary work and we read off the prayer and sang some hymns. Can I just say how much I love the spirit and how it speaks to everyone. We were singing when this guy came over and just started singing with us and singing his own religious hymns which were beautiful! And after that we went contacting. So yeah people in Buch aren't as nice or maybe I'm just naive. Probably a little of both. I went up to everyone and said Buna Ziua and they all just started and said who are you... haha it was super awkward and super funny. Don't worry I wasn't down in the dumps, but yeah they didn't really like to talk to the random American missionary. It was cool though.

Anyways we met some of the trainers earlier in the day and then we just went in to get our Visas. I still wont have one until the next transfer though which is just fine. As long as I don''t get kicked out of the country. :) We ended up going to the mission home and Sora Hil went over all the rules with us. I thought it was super funny though because all of the missionaries were so jet lagged and they were all falling asleep and I was honestly as awake as ever. Maybe your right dad I no longer need sleep, I have slept to long in my lifetime. But they were all falling over and I couldn't help but laugh! Deci we were introduced to our new companions and our new areas and the moment all of you... or I was waiting for at least... I am serving with Sora Ewell who is from Salt Lake she is wonderful and we get along super duper well. And I already met her dad! Haha weird but really cool. We are serving in Cluj which is just the most beautiful place I love it here!

People are nice here in Cluj we say hello to everyone here and they respond and people actually come up and talk to us! Well technically we go up to them but we still talk to them and they talk back! It isn't Buch! We took a 8ish maybe closer to 9ish train ride and came in the morning. We got everything all settled in and then we went to work. My first couple days in Cluj I didn't know what to think or what to do or what to say. It was kinda overwhelming since our first person we taught was an inactive member who just has no desire to change or make her life better. She is super knowledgeable in the gospel but it was just so sad to see and then our next day was the same too we visited a non memeber and she was just quiet and didn't want to do anything.

Don't worry I wasn't down in the dumps because we had some awesome opportunities. We went over to this families house the mom is a member inactive Sora Sumurdecan and the rest of her family isn't members. We went to go teach her daughter, but her daughter had to leave somewhere so we ended up teaching her just about being an elect lady and how she is part of God's family. She loved the lesson and the scriptures we shared. And her husband joined in the lesson. He said the closing prayer! Which is unusual I guess since he wasn't realy on good terms with the church but HEY it's an improvement. But they both said they would come to church! AND THEY DID! They stayed for all 3 hours and participated and everything. It was so awesome.

We then have a new investigator named Claudia who they met through English classes. She is the most sweetest soul! She is so enthusiastic and sincere. And she just wanted to know about our religion, what are standards are, and what we do, what we believe. So we gave her a strength for the youth and we shared with her the restoration. She seemed interested and wants to meet again. It was really awesome because a lot of people here just seem complacent in what they are doing how they are living. And she told us straight away that she wasnts to be better and make herself better and always improve. It was a really cool lesson. :) I really love her already.

I was going through the area book (I read it ALOT) and we saw this family who has been seeing the missionaries for over 7 years. THey all want to be baptized but the dad wont let them. We are going to teach them this week. And I am so excited this family is AMAZING. They are the best members and they aren't even members! But we asked them to come to church and the mom said she would probably be the one one to come and it ended up that the dad came too and one of the sons! We also have another investigator and they pretty much only speak spanish. So I guess I will be learning spanish here too :) Since I don't really know Romananian yet. We teach them tonight and they are such a sweet family. 'We have to have people translate and so it's going to be realy interesting...

Ummm Quickly really fast. The members here are AMAZING. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! I didn't really understand a ton of what was going on I understood but just some. But they spirit is just so strong there and I was just thinking of how awesome it is that every single one of them is a convert to the church. They have all been on that other side of the door and they have completely changed their lives and you can see how happy they are. They treat us missionaries like we are the best things in this world which is super strange for me, I don't think we have treated our missionaries at home as good as they way these members treat me. They are so willing to do anything to help missionary work. They want people and their families to accept the gospel so much. It really is the most beautiful and humbling experience.
I'm well, I am happy, this city is absolutely beautiful, the people are really nice (for the most part), and their is so much work to be done! And I am so excited and thrilled that the Lord called me to this place. That I can just be around them, learn from them, and I just pray and pray and pray everyday that I can help them in their lives. That I can share the gospel and make their lives filled with purpose and love. I love this gospel :)
I love you all I was going to share pictures but I forgot my connector. My bad :)
Love you all,
Sora Stewart

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Last letter from the MTC March 14, 2013

Ce faceţi? Sorry I am later in writing today! And some things have gone on this week! We got our travel plans last Friday and we leave the MTC on Monday the 18th at 5:00 am. Our flight leaves 8:00am. We will be stopping in Minneapolis... I think that's how you spell it. Nu ştiu. Anyways... we stop there and then we have about a four hour lay over and then we fly to Amsterdam for a 3 hour layover and then we will be in Bucherest. So I should be in Romania on Tuesday at one Romanian time. I have no idea what time it will be anywhere else. So let me know when you would like me to call and at what time. I do have two phone cards I asked my Branch president if it would be okay to call you both and he said yes. So let me know through Dear Elder or something. Or else you may just have a wakeup call from me :)

So now that the business part of things is done it has been a fun filled exciting adventure here at the MTC. Amy I finally met some Polish missionaries. They aren't going to Poland though they are going to England Polish speaking. Who knew? Deci my companion Sora Adams and I had some awesome lessons. I just love teaching and I think the whole experience here has changed a lot. We teach a lot here at the MTC in Romanian. It does not mean that I am good at speaking at all... but I do understand for the most part of what everybody says in Romanian. We had some lessons that were not planned for yesterday our teachers Fratele Frandson, Sora Whiting, and Sora Wilson all told us that on the spot we would be teaching them according to what their personal needs are. Ummm SCARY! I just wanted to tell them I have no idea how to do this and how to help you with certain things in your life! But this was our assignment and as we started off with a prayer and taught them according to the spirit and what the spirit tells us we need to say somehow we spoke to their heart. Now did I know exactly what I was going to say and had it planned out no. Not at all. But our Heavenly Father knows us all so very personally. He knows what we pray for, He knows what we need, and He will always remember us. He will never forget those that are lost... that maybe are struggling with their testimonies or have gone inactive or maybe just isn't listening to the promptings of the spirit the way we should. He will NEVER forsake us. So as I was teaching with the spirit, and the spirit prompted my companion and I to say certain words, read certain scriptures, read a certain verse in the Hymn book or whatever it was they were touched by the spirit. They were looking for an answer and through the spirit and whatever we had said that the spirit prompted us to say it was the answer to their prayers. Isn't it just abolutely amazing how this Gospel is??? I can't believe somedays that I was called to serve, that I get this opportunity to teach people, that I get to teach them to accept Christ, and to find their way in to eternal happiness. What a BLESSING! And I look back and I realize how I have taken the gospel in my life for granted sometimes. I will pray and pray and pray everyday for the rest of my life to be grateful for this wonderful gift in my life.

We just had some awesome lessons just where the spirit teaches. I can not believe that I will be in Romania in about 4ish days and I will be teaching real people. They might not understand a single word that comes out of my mouth but the spirit will be there and I am excited for that.

We have had some sorrow this week in my district. Last night one of our Elders was just stressing a lot... so he went in to a counseling meeting. His brother I guess had depression issues while out on his mission and just didn't tell anyone until his mission was half way over. Anyways so he went in and just told them what was going on, apparantly he was diagnosed with something where he can't get his stress relieved the same way. I don't know what it is called but he just thought that maybe he would get medicine and he would be okay. They told him last night that he has to go home. The look on his face was just so heart breaking, he wants to serve and he feels as though his body is giving up on him. We tried to comfort him last night and he is feeling a little better about it today... but he is probably going home on the day that we all go to Romania. It just breaks all of our hearts, he is after it is deamed that he can be okay mentally coming straight to Romania so we will see him then.

I have not recieved any Case Family Emails and everything is pretty much blocked on the computers here, so if someone can help and that way I can know little things that are going on in my precious family I would much appreciate it :)

I have loved my stay here at the MTC I don't know why people complain about it. It is a place that is just so full of the spirit and you are completely surrounded by goodness. I see Elder Jackson, Elder Hodson, and Sister Montenegro often and that makes me happy. They are all happy and well and I am the first to leave! WOOHOO I guess most missionaries couldn't get their VISA's into Brazil so most Brazilian Missionaries are now here.

Ummmm I'm not sure what else to say. The next time I write I will be in ROMANIA! Woohoo!

I love you all and I feel your love and support. I feel the blessings everyday. Never take for granted the Gospel in your life. Think of who might need it in theirs :) Share what you have!
Love you!
Sora Stewart

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 4 MTC dated March 7, 2013

Buna Dimineata,
I'm not sure how correct my spelling is here especially since this computer doesn't have Romanian letters in it. So I'm sorry if the Romanian words I use do not translate correctly! I promise that I can say more words then I can spell... Anywho it has been a wonderful glorious week here at the MTC. And it is seriously crazy that I have been here for about a month now... I only have a week and a half. I'm a little nervous honestly, I don't know the language has much as I wish I did. My teachers, have I told you how wonderful my teachers are, they keep reminding us over and over again that when they left the MTC they knew about as much as we knew at two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I knew nothing at two weeks! So that gives me hope, and I know the Lord is blessing me as I look back at my first day here where my heart was pounding and I kept thinking why did I want to learn a language??? My mind no longer thinks that way just FYI, but it is just so cool to see how much progress I have made! It truly is the Lord blessing me, I couldn't do it any other way. It's also really funny we have a teacher named Fratle Boynton and he went to see the BYU Romanian Language Class. The teacher and him started to speak in Romana and then the teacher asked what they were saying. They way he told the story was so funny because to us he was speaking Romana and we understood everything and then he tells us that they were saying nu inslege, he then stops and says no they didn't even say that they said we don't understand. It was probably a have to be there moment, but it was so funny to us! We have been here four weeks and they have been in classes for over a year in this class and we understand and they don't. That is the power of the Lord. Have I just mentioned how AWESOME it is to be a missionary?
This week we have lessons we have about 8ish lessons? I think last week my companion and I had the most lessons so they let us have like two less lessons this week... Anyways so we were teaching our teacher Sora Wilson or as our investigator we know her as Stella. And I have to tell you that if I have a Stella that I meet on my mission, I will come home the most happiest person if I just get to have ONE experience like the experience we have with her. So let me tell you some "background information" on her. She works all the time and she has 3 kids. Who do not live with her. I guess it's something that is pretty regular in Romania. It's too expensive to get a divorce and get married and so when couples break up they just split up. If they have kids a lot of the time the kids end up living with their grandparents or a nanny of some sort. Isn't it sad? Oh also Romania has one of the biggest surplus of orphans. I mean it is absolutely ridiculous, they have way more orphans then they have room for. Before they were a "free" country the dictator I guess encouraged people to have a lot of kids. So what they would do is that the mom would have the baby and they just leave the hospital. It is the most horrifying thing that I can ever imagine but it's a big issue over there. Sorry little bits of knowledge of where I am going. Back to Stella so she has three kids who don't live with her, but she loves her kids so much. And she wants to see them as much as possible. As we are teaching her you can just see that she has been waiting for this her whole life and as we were explaining the Plan of Salvation and our purpose on this life is to return to Tatal nostru Ceresc and be with our families. She just stopped and said how can I get this. I want this, it was beautiful! She came to church, loved church, she even brought her kids which live hours away. We had a discussion on the importance of baptism and we had a "member" Sora Whiting "Mihaela" come and talk to her. It was the most beautiful lesson. She agreed to be baptized and we knew that the hardest lesson for her to accept would be Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Since she works all the time, and she has to work to help her kids and to just live. So we had the Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy lesson. And you can just tell that she doesn't know if she can do this and she just has to work. And through the promptings of the spirit we were able to explain to her the importance, and we were able to find a scripture that just told her first let your sight be on the Kingdom of God and God will help provide for you. She just started crying. I think that is when it just became so real to me... the spirit is there. She can feel it and through the spirit and her faith in Jesus Christ she committed. I know that technically she isn't a real investigator and this is just the MTC, but it was the most humbling, amazing experience. To see the spirit touch someone so much and to agree to not work on Sundays when they have to work to provide for her household. That much faith in our Savior, to just follow Him.
It makes me think how much Faith do I have. If I wasn't born into the household I was in and if I didn't have this knowledge of the Gospel would I be so willing to accept the gospel? And just follow Jesus Christ. I sure hope so.
I can not wait to get to Romania, because even though I know that I don't know the language, all of the grammar principles, all of the conjugations of verbs, all of the vocab, and everything else that makes me nervous I know that if the spirit is there, then I have done what I have been sent there to do. Now I know I need to learn the language and don't think this is me saying oh I'm good I have the spirit. Hahaha as if. But I know that when I am making my best effort to speak and the spirit is there, that is when conversion starts.
I'll get off my little soap box here of how I have all sorts of revelations. It's pretty cool to see how I'm growing though.
We should get our travel plans today! AHHHHHH I'M SO EXCITED! And a little sad because I wont have my companion that I have at this moment in time. But I am just full of excitement!
Oh mom I did get my card to work and I took out 40. And I will probably take out another 40 next week before I leave. We are supposed to have cash on us just in case purposes. I keep hearing that we may have to pay for our luggage over there and then they will reimburse us... but they I have heard other things... I'm not sure what is going to happen when we leave for our flight. I will keep you posted though. So yeah I guess you can probably expect a call from me next week? Maybe from the airport... yes I guy just told me that we will call from the airport. So I think not quite sure but I believe we will be calling on Monday the 18th. It might be in the morning... so I'm grateful you all are early morning risers. Don't quote me though because I am not completely sure and we haven't gotten our travel plans yet. You will just have to wait until next week for more information on that. But I can only call once and leaving a voice mail counts. So make sure to answer the phone hahaha :)
You are all in my prayers every night. And I love you all just so much. Just know that I am super duper happy here and I love missionary work.
va iubesc!
Sora Stewart

ps. I love all your letters. But I always forget to bring them with me when I am writing letters home so if there are specific questions you want me to answer I'M SORRY! I'll try and write a hand written one today in romanian :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

This is a paper letter we received that I'm now just getting around to typing from 3 weeks ago

Hello Family,
     I feel like I have extra time today, especially since someone opened my washer and didn't restart it, so I have even longer to wait! :( pure sadness there.  Anyways I can go into a little more detail of what's going on.
     There are 5 Sora's including me in my district along with 2 Elders.  Aparently we are one of the biggest districts that the Romanian country has ever had.  That should really tell you now much Romania has been influenced by how many missionaries there are. The district ahead of us is here for 2 1/2 more weeks and they were beyond excited for us to come.
     The Elders in the other district call the Sora's in our distrct overachievers, because we are always studing and I guess we know more Romanian then they did at this point. 
     The Elders that are in the other district are from Europe and they both know like 4 languages.  One is from Italy and the other Austia.  They are super nice and they are our zone leaders.
     When I came into the MTC there were 800 plus Sister & Elders that came in that day.  That is the biggest they have ever had.!  And this week they had 600! Crazy right!
     I really love those that I am with and I love my district and my teacher.  My favorite teach is fratez Boynton, may have spelled that wrong.  He takes a lot of time to answer our questions or language and he doesn't overdo anything.  I am super grateful for that.
     I'm super excited for P-Day today cause that means I get to go to the Temple!!!  My favorite day so far has been Sunday, we just had an awesome speaker and it was just the things I personally needed.  I really love being a missionary, although it is harder than I ever imagined.
     Those that haven't served have no idea of what you have to do and every thing there is to do to be here.   Love Sora Stewart