Monday, June 24, 2013

Inside the Sibiu tower this is the mechanism thingy for the clock.
Elder B and Sora M are in there too. haha

Our funny elders on the way back from our trip to Sibiu!

Our funny elders on the way back from our trip to Sibiu!

Stairs up the tower. Super sketchy.

Beautiful Sibiu!

Beautiful Sibiu!

There was so much fog from the rain that I couldn't see some of the buildings and some of the hills around our apartment. So cool. Pictures just don't do it justice!

HUGE Rain storm came in through Cluj. One of the best moments this week as I was praying for Rain.

June 24, 2013

Buna Ziua,

I think I should start off first by apologizing for my letter last week. Because well it was a hard week for me. Personally. But that doesn't stop the blessings from coming, the work progressing, and spirits slowly being lifted. Things are good here in Cluj first exciting news is that we had 8 INVESTIGATORS at church this week! That's a huge thing for us here! The whole Militaru family showed up even the dad! Isn't that amazing! And the oldest son who I have never ever met. And we had a new investigator show up to church as well that we haven't met up with. We contacted her villa knocking around our church building and we called her this week and she said she would come. She goes to the baptist church and has been going there for the past 5 years but was never baptized. She said that she really enjoyed our church and said that she would like to learn more. She also said that she would come to church again on Sunday! Hooray! My heart just springs with joy to see people actually feel the spirit! They feel the difference! We also had our sweet sweet wonderful investigators D and D!


I'm just going to take some time and talk about this sweet mother and daughter because the way they are going they are just amazing people! We taught them this past week the Restoration and D (the mom) was a lot more open then her daughter who we were spending a lot more time with. We bore our testimonies and asked them to start reading the Book of Mormon they both agreed. D because of Family troubles has a hard time believing in religions and that they will actually bless her life. And when we explained about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His son Jesus Christ she looked us and said I am not going to believe this. And my heart just dropped! But she accepted our invitation to come to church and to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. That day we also made Saramale together which was so much fun and actually pretty easy. We fed the Elders the next day for lunch during district meeting. Anyways we came back later this week and she told us that she started reading and that she thinks it's interesting. Which interesting here in Romania is a good thing... for the most part. And on Sunday we picked them up and they said that they really enjoyed it. Which is just absolutely fantastic. Such a beautiful story these two are!


Some sad news this week is with our investigator K from Peru. I feel like anytime we take a step closer to baptism and a step closer to her accepting the gospel into her life she takes 10 steps backward. We had a beautiful lesson with her about the atonement of Jesus Christ and we wanted her to develop a stronger testimony and to just realize how beautiful the Book of Mormon is so we read a ton of scriptures from the Book of Mormon. And the spirit was so strong. These are the moments I absolutely strive for on my mission! Where the spirit just testifies everything and there is just no need for words! And by the end of the lesson we were all basically in tears. And Karen told us that she felt like she had received an answer to her prayers through us. What an amazing amazing experience this was! We met with her a few days later though and it was like we were starting from the beginning. She finally confessed to us that she doesn't want to get baptized because she doesn't know how long she will be staying here in Romania. And that she misses her old church, her pastor, her friends, the way they teach and the way they use the Bible. We tried to explain to her how important it was to realize that this is the true church and that if she doesn't pray DIRECTLY to Heavenly Father with a DIRECT question then how is she supposed to know. Elder Boyd even tried to ask her what would she do if God himself told her that the true church was restored back upon this earth? And she told us that she would have to ask Him a lot of questions first. So we are taking a little bit of a break with her. And hopefully she will see that the feelings she has with us will remind her that what we teach is true.


We went to a baptist church this Sunday with our investigator E. It's really interesting to go to all of these churches because I feel like when I go there I understand a whole lot more of how they are taught of what they are taught and what things they accept and what things they don't accept into their lives. Or even just how they worship and how I can explain to them better of how we worship and why we do the things we do. Super super interesting though. But every time I leave I say a quick prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for giving me the greatest blessing of them all in being born into the Gospel. And to really just KNOW... really really know that this church is true. And I love it. I love everything about this church. I love that we have the restored authority and that anytime I would be sick or ill or just have a bad day or have just whatever it is I know that I can have a priesthood blessing. I love knowing that this church does so much good. It teaches nothing but being a good person. Of Christ. Of using His atonement. How beautiful this is. And how much I take advantage of it. I know I do. And I really should try to be more thankful of everything I have. My family, friends, gospel, my savior Jesus Christ, having just the opportunity to be a missionary. What greater blessings could I been given?


Things are still hard ya know the language. But it's also a lot better. I'm grateful for your letters of encouragement and love and they really have helped. ALOT! And I know that I'm just extremely extremely hard on myself... I'm a Stewart we strive for perfection :P hahaha. But no I have reevaluated my goals and have looked at what I can do better what I see for myself and what I see myself doing at the end of this transfer. And I think one of the biggest things is that I'm afraid. Of making mistakes, of disappointing others, of failure, of others judgement, of not living up to my potential. And all that fear does is make you a failure. It really does it's absolutely horrible. And so I now I wake up and get on my knees and just ask Heavenly Father for strength and not to be afraid anymore. I'm not perfect, but I'm getting a lot better and instead of having sweaty palms and shaking my legs anytime someone asks me to read a scripture or say a prayer out loud, I volunteer. I'm still struggling I don't know everything I read, and I know a lot of times I don't understand what they are saying, and I say A LOT of things wrong. I'm trying. I'm trying. I'm trying. And I feel Heavenly Father smiling back at me.


We went to Sibiu this week for zone training and it was beautiful. Sibiu is just a beautiful area. And this time we went up to the top of one of the towers in Centru and just took a ton of pictures from the top. :) It was fun.


I love you all so much and I can feel you're prayers. Thankyou. You have no idea what it means to me.

Sora Stewart

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sora M and I. It's getting a little hot here in Cluj,

they had a huge ice cream festival here in Centru this weekend. They had a ton of ice cream over by the Catholic church. They also had a bunch of native dancers. It was really beautiful. This was the only picture we took though. And of course this is the catholic church.

Me and Familia C.

Sora M and I with Familia C! They are some of the strongest members here in Cluj. So powerful we had a wonderful lesson that day.

June 17, 2013

Witam moi bliscy!
There are some definite perks of having a Polish companion! I get to use polish... not that I can actually remember what she says to me or use it in our conversations. Hey but I'm trying over here! And Amy I thought you would appreciate that :)

This week was a difficult one for me. And not because something horrible happened, but it was just hard. Being here in Romania, on my own, not really knowing the language, is extremely hard. I love it don't get me wrong. I absolutely love being here. I learn new things about Romania, our investigators, members, the gospel, the language, and myself everyday. And I love that. I love learning, and growing and feeling that I am really changing who I am to the person Heavenly Father needs me to be. But it's hard. I feel uncomfortable and unconfident a lot of the time. And it's stressful. Learning a language here is a little different than if I were to go to a place that all my companions would be native speakers, because we speak English in all of our meetings except for church. So the language comes slower. And that's is SO frustrating! And in those moments of frustration and feeling completely inadequate for our investigators and for this branch comes some intense sorrow. You just feel extrememly alone. Extremely alone. And maybe I am just a worrier, and I want to know the language now. I want to speak fluently and share the gospel with everyone. And I am not patient with myself... I'm not patient in my suffering. And I worry that I wont ever fully understand this language or really speak this language. And I worry that I wont live up to the potential that Heavenly Father wants me to live up to.


But it's difficult to do things here in someone elses time and in someone elses way. I like things to be the way that I want them and I want to teach the way I want to teach and I want to do things the way I want to do them. And when your on a mission it's not about me, myself, or I. It's not about me. It's about those we teach and contact. It's those little touches that we do everyday, saying hi to everyone on the street, giving someone my seat on the bus, passing out cards, contacting in the park, helping them understand a little bit more about our Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. It's about doing our Heavenly Father's work. It's about Him. And I knew this before my mission. But you never really fully know what is going to happen, or what you're really going to be doing until you are out here. Working, teaching, contacting, and contacting, and contacting, and contacting. We do alot of contacting here can't you tell? Being here is a huge trial, especially this week and how do I endure. I can tell you in all honesty that I don't know if I have ever been on my knees so much. And Heavenly Father being the great person He is sends me little blessings everyday so I don't just blow up. :) I read a general conference talk this week about trials since personally I felt like my trial was never ending and that in my personal trial I was trying, I was really trying and my desires were pure, completely pure and perfect intentions. Of course I may be a little overdramatic here, but hey I'm allowed to be a little overdramatic sometimes, I can't be completely perfect everday. (Dad I know you're rolling your eyes :))


Anyways I started reading the talk "Hope ya know, We Had a Hard Time" by Elder Cook. And in this talk he talks about trials that come into lives, some big some small, but all trials and how at the end of our trial we are able to say to Heavenly Father "I hope you know, I had a hard time." And a part that really stuck out to me was this...

"We know from the scriptures that some trials are for our

good and are suited for our own personal development. 

We also know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

It is also true that every cloud we see doesn’t result in rain.

Regardless of the challenges, trials, and hardships we endure, the

reassuring doctrine of the Atonement wrought by Jesus Christ 

includes Alma’s teaching that the Savior would take upon Him our

infirmities and “succor his people according to their infirmities.”

And this really touched my heart. Because I'm prideful. I am. Most of the time I really don't feel like I need help from anyone. And I hate asking for help. I really feel like I can depend on myself most of the time and I have a hard time letting others do things for me. Yes, I am prideful. And this made me really think of how I act. How I am so stuck on my will and my confidence that I really forget all that Heavenly Father has done for me. And that if I just really humbled myself and just say Heavenly Father I will do my best (which I do strive to do everyday) but I need your help. I need your help and my companions help, and my districts help, and my mission presidents help. I need help in my life. I can't do this by myself. I can't learn a language, and teach God's children, and expect to be the person Heavenly Father needs me to be without His help.

Now I'm sorry that so far my letter hasn't been the most upbeat but I promise their have been some wonderful blessings that have come this week! The work still progresses here and we are still striving to bring the wonderful Romanians here the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe I have told you a little about D and her mother D. We went over last week to teach her English and D was there which was amazing. She works a lot and so all the other times that we have gone over there she was never there. We start teaching D English and D is sitting in. And as things progress and as we get ready to share our gospel message about gratitude we are prompted to ask more questions about what is going on in their lives. and we find out a lot about their life and that they are going through some challenges. With divorce and drinking. So obviously we start to share about the beautiful gospel. Sora M begins to share her conversion story and D stares at us and tell us that she wishes that she could have faith like us. And so we ask her if we could share the restoration with her and her family and she said yes. We were so excited because these two woman are absolutely wonderful. They are such strong and powerful woman. And I can really see them in the gospel. I can see them really taking the blessings that the gospel gives us.


We also have been contacting in our own block. We ran into this young lady A and she invited us into her apartment that she shares with her brother. And we had a wonderful discussion. She was a little scared when we gave her a card and told her that we were missionaries. But than yesterday as we tried to meet with her and she told us that she was actually going to church. And so we invited ourselves and she said that we could come with her and her  brother. She is actually Pentacostal which has a lot of the same beliefs that we do. And while we were there we ran into one of our other investigators D who was beyond happy to see us there as she leaves for America this upcoming weekend. It really made them a lot more open to us as we showed that we respected other religions and that we enjoyed their services. So she agreed as we walked home to come with us to church next Sunday. Actually she more asked if we were going to invite her to our church and of course we said yes!

The Pentacostal service that we went to was called Speranta which means Hope. And it's one of the bigger Pentacostal churches here in Cluj. We were in a big meeting room and there were so many people. Over 200 people and Sora M and I just wanted to shout on the top of our voices that you have a great things here but if you follow us you can have something even greater! Do you not realize the potential you have if you were to be members of Christ Restored Gospel on this Earth! There were lots and lots of young people. And the service goes like this we all gather and they have about 6 or 7 speakers and so the speakers go up one at a time and they give there sermon and they tell us to stand and then we all pray at one time for something they tell us to. (To help us share the gospel, help us have strength, asking forgiveness) So everyone stands up and they all pray outloud at once. They all say there own prayers but there is a lot of noise. Then we sit down and they have a guitarist, pianist, drumer, and two singers get up and sing songs of Christ (which were extremely beautiful) and then it repeats itself. They gave wonderful talks about the gospel and there was nothing that was said that was against our beliefs. My thoughts to Heavenly Father at that point was just "Heavenly Father I am staring at your children that want a relationship with you. That have desires to follow your son Jesus Christ. Help us talk to them. Help them be open to our message and see the added truth that we give to them."

We went contacting this week in Parks. And well lets say the weather in Cluj changed a lot in the last week we went from Rainy and gorgeous! To Hot and sweaty. I think I'm just going to have to get used to the feeling of sweat being on my face at all times and my hair just being up in a bun. Hooray for summer!

I think that's all for this week! I love you all and I pray for you all. I know God lives and this is His church. I know that trials come. Believe me I know. But I do know that we are never alone. No matter how much we may push away or want to be by ourselves (speaking from my own experience of course) God will never abandon us. He wants to reach out His loving hands of kidness and embrass us. We went and watched the Emma Smith movie with our new convert S and a part in that movie says, "God loves us even when we hold back" His love is infinite. But don't hold back. Embrass Heavenly Father and His son's atonement. Look to Christ's atonement everyday and see what power it gives us. I love you all so much and I am super grateful to be here. I really really am. I love being here. I love being a missionary even with stressful trials. It's the best decission I have ever made.

Love you all,

Sora Stewart

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

K had a birthday this week! I made her some banana bread. Which she loves and Sora K made her a cake :)
Me and Sora M

Me and Sora B. (I adore this woman)

It's been super rainy here. WHICH I LOVE!
We have seen quite a few rainbows here

This is our branch mission leader. T and his girlfriend A, and his daughter B

In this middle of Sighisoara. Look how beautiful the buildings are!

Look at this picture that was in front of an Orthodox church. They actually may believe that Christ, God, and The Holy Ghost are separate people... although the Holy Ghost isn't a dove all the time.
Don't worry it's a work in progress over here!

Pretty orthodox church in Sighisoara

They had some gorgeous walkways... I really had a lot of fun with the camera...
Now only if I had dad's camera with me ;)

this is the castle to where we are heading.

Such pretty walkways. Everything was just gorgeous!

There were a bunch of Asian's taking a picture of this wall and i didn't know why until I realized that a dear head was coming out of the wall. How interesting?!

Group of missionaries coming through.

All of the streets were like this. So colorful!

And this builiding is older than america!
The Elders kept joking that they felt that John the Beloved would pop out of anywhere. That's how old the town looked and felt

hahaha Oh Elder B. His camera broke so he wanted to borrow mine.

In some kind of old shop. It was a leather shop... It looked like a place that was used as a shelter... for some kind of wars. It had interesting windows and things that basically you could shoot out of them but they can't shoot back at you. Super interesting.

Elder S and the million mile stairs. They were never ending.

We weren't even close to the top of the stairs... EXHAUSTING!

Graveyard. It was huge. The picture doesn't even compare to how beautiful and fantastic it was. Romanians have a lot of family history to go through

Top of the castle! Hello to Sighisoara

This is just a glimps of what a gypsy mansion looks like. There are lots of gypsys in Romania especially in sighisoara. But this is what their mansions look like. Super interesting. Sorry it's blurry we were in a maxi taxi.

June 10, 2013

Hello again!
I'm running out of things to say to start off my letters. I need to be more creative. Anyways. Tranfer board was in and Sora M and I are staying here in Cluj together for another transfer. President actually told her that she will die here in Cluj. Which I think is great because the branch here absolutely adores her.

We have had another busy week here in Cluj and I am extremely happy with how the work is going here. We have some awesome Elders that are hard workers and all of together we really try to get things done. It's super funny to me, because Elder B acts so much like Spencer. He really could be like a Stewart cousin, it's great anyways. Anytime we go group contacting, knocking on villa's is what we did this week. It's kinda a competition for us. We love to try and see who will be let in past the gate, and who will be able to actually talk to people. So the work is progressing and we are really trying hard to just get as many investigators and inactives to come to church as possible.


We have had some sweet wonderful lessons with our beautiful investigator K. She really is progressing towards baptism, and it's fantastic to see how she started off very defensive and very uncertain and now to see her full of questions and telling us that her doubts are minimum. It's really interesting how we teach her, because she only speaks spanish, we have to have our translator Sora K and we use the scriptures a lot. Obviously it's the evidence for everything we teach about! Anyways everytime we have a lesson with her she asks Sora K for colored pencils and then while we are reading she just highlights everything. She loves the Bible and she read the whole Pearl of Great Price within like 3 days! Which was kind of an accident, but she loved it and she told us it really made her understand the Bible a lot more. She is slowly starting to read the Book of Mormon but I have noticed the more and more we use it the more she reads it and is recognizing that it is profound scripture, that it is true. She has a lot of questions. A lot of questions. But she has told us that she really doesn't have as many doubts now.


We have started to teach this wonderful bright young girl named D. We teach her half English and half Gospel principles. I don't even know what to do with her. She is so bright, so smart, so dedicated. Everytime we come over she just shows us how much she has memorized and what she has worked on. And I just stare at her, probably because I have a hard time memorizing all those verbs myself, and I just tell her I can just talk to you and help you that way. Haha cause honestly I don't know English grammer. Honestly now it's hard to teach English. We don't really have consistent things going on and it is just super confusing. Super confusing. I don't know how I speak it... well I speak it just not grammatically correct.


Anywho, we had a fantastic P-day this week. We traveled a couple hours to a place called Sighi┼čoara it was absolutly beautiful! The streets were all cobble stone which made it kinda hard to walk on... but the buildings and the colors wow. We found this one building that is older than America! Not really that shocking, but it was so fascinating. We traveled around the whole town taking pictures and we walked up to this grave yard which was honestly like a scene taken out of Harry Potter. (It really wouldn't surprise me if this is where it was taken from) We just had an absolute blast together as a district. And of course we went up and saw a castle. They wouldn't let us take pictures inside or they would charge us, No Thankyou, but we got to take pictures all the way at the top of the tower. The whole time I was there I was thinking to myself, "I am having a hard time walking up these stairs and through these doors with flat shoes and a dress. How on earth did midevil woman with the big poofy skirts and shoes walk up these stairs! Also the shoes that they wore the heel was in the middle of the arch! Super super weird to me!" Anyways we have had a great day there. Lots of stares. They don't really see missionaries there. Except for every 6ish weeks haha :) When the next group comes in.

I'm sorry to hear about Andrew... that's horrible and I will keep his family in my prayers. It's definitly strange to hear about things that are going on at home and how things are changing all the time. Aren't we grateful to know the Plan of Salvation and to know our purpose and know who we really are in this life. Our full potential! That's something that I have really been looking at this week and studying. I challenge you all to take out your blessings and read them. Read them over and over again. Look at the blessings Heavenly Father has promised us. Look at the qualitites we can have. Look at the person we can be. How beautiful it is that that is the way Heavenly Father sees us. That is the way He must picture us, with all of the divine potential in the world to be righteous standards and to bring others into the gospel, whether it's directly in our families, or whether it's with people on the street.

I love you all very much. And I'm grateful to have you in my life. How blessed I am. I look at my companion who is a sweet heart and very strong minded. Being a member of the gospel for 2 years serving for a little over a year. Being the only member in her family and out of her friends that she had had. I am amazed at what she has accomplished and the person she is. How strong she is in the gospel and unwaivering. It makes me ver appreciative of her. Of how she wants to go back to Poland and build up the church there. Even though the church there is even smaller than it is here, I didn't think that was possible. Even though she knows that it will be hard and that there is a lot of challenges that will come her way. She wants to be that strength in her country. And for me. I feel so blessed. So very very blessed to be born of goodly parents. To have had an AMAZING ward. AMAZING friends. Amazing stories, and experiences in the gospel since I was a young age. How honestly grateful I am.


Love you all!
Sora Stewart

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The day of the baptism!

The elders and me. We have some great Elders haha.

and our fun district

and our fun district

Orthodox church

We love cluj!

I love this woman! Sora Boyd!

Sweet Sabina! She hates pictures so this is the only one we could get of her. I'm grateful she let us take this one!

Elder Barclay is from Idaho and he just makes me laugh. He reminds me so much of Spencer. And of course he has to prove his strength. They are some great elders.

This is the place where the future chappel will be!

Sora Modzelewska. Elder Lex was in the tree and he dropped a branch for her to catch.
She didn't really know not to stand right underneith where he was dropping it.

They taste just as good as they look :)

They taste just as good as they look :)

Super beautiful :)