Wednesday, November 27, 2013

We cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  I made homemade rolls.

Branch Picture. :) We had a BUNCH of people there this week. It was beautiful! Usually we have about 16 that go every week. :) HOORAY!

Park Contacting. The day we met the darling old couple :)

Our day with Ecaterina. Her showing us a lot of the history of the area. This is a man whose donkey almost died but then his donkey drank from the water and was healed. So they call it like healing waters. 

THen we went to this beach that had a bunch of seashells on it. THEY WERE SO COOL! We were just walking on them. It was a beautiful beach

I love this girl. Seriously with all my heart. Andreea :) 

Cooking for Thanksgiving. Sora Newell just started eating a lemon. hahahahaha SO happy we are staying another transfer :) SO HAPPY!

This is Anca and she is leaving on her mission and so because I adore her so! We had to take a picture. :) I love this branch I really really do.

Pictures from Andreea that she sent us :) LOVE YOU ALL

November 26, 2013

Hello Family and Friends,

So first couldn't write yesterday because it was maddness! Transfers are this week and we wanted to do one huge thing as a last district p-day thing. So we had Thanksgiving and when I mean we had Thanksgiving we literally had Thanksgiving I even made homemade rolls. Haha. It was a lot of fun but super time consuming and so we are allowed today to write. Thankgoodness.

I have been looking forward to writing just because I want to share all the amazing miracles that have happened this week!


Well I told you last week that we would be having a lesson with Alina and Andreea was there. It was such a beautiful lesson. I was a little nervous at first but it was such an amazing lesson. FILLED with the spirit. We explained the first part of the plan of salvation and right now she is progressing which is amazing! :) ADORE HER. We were a little nervous at first just because there was a lot of talking and I really like to have moments of silence where they can really ponder and take in everything that we are teaching. But as Andreea talked more and more she basically just explained how she was once in her spot and how it had taken her 11 months to get baptized and she wished she would have done it sooner but how she just knows how true this plan is. How she just knows. This girl is going to be a powerful missionary one day :) 


Sora Newell and I have been working hard this week. We really wanted to up our contacting hours so on Tuesday we literally planned the whole day on contacting... well besides English. So we decided to go to the park. Not the best season for the park, but it actually was such a BEAUTIFUL day. Really wasn't cold, overcast, the swans and all these birds were out. So beautiful. And we saw on the map that there was this whole other section of the park on the other side of the lake. We literally explored the whole park. So we were just walking... and then running... creepy guy... and then we ran into this couple. I get super nervous to approach people so I just go up and ask random questions about Constanta. They love their city :) Let me tell you. So I just go up and ask if there was a piata nearby. Well they are this super ADORABLE old couple. Darling just darling and we just talk for a while. About Christmas and their traditions because they are orthodox. So of course they ask where we are from, why we are here, and then he asks if we know German. Haha Sora Newell knows German and so she starts speaking a bit. It was too funny because everytime she tried to speak in German, Romanian just coming out. It was too funny. But we were able to place a Book of Mormon which they graciously accepted and we told them that if they had any questions they could call us. We taught, testified, invited, and promised. So I'm just going to leave this off here.....


The next day we went and had a beautiful lesson with Andreea. Literally this girl. I adore her. She is one of the best people I have met in my life. And because she is a new convert we ask her like evertime what she has questions on or what does she want to know more about? So she told us Repentance and application. This GIRL! Gosh she is just amazing! So we had this beautiful lesson BEAUTIFUL lesson on Christ's atonement and the sacrament. :) It was so beautiful.

Then later on we did service and spent time with these cute kids playing games in English. These kids were adorable. There was a point were one of the little boys looks up at Sora Newell and says something about one of the cards he was holding and then looks at us and says," She doesn't have any idea what I am saying." And then just laughs. I was dying because I knew that she understood. Hahaha it was SO FUNNY. And then the other little boy, because we are supposed to speak in English to help them, says at one point in Romanian " I have no idea what's going on or what they are saying." Gosh what a good day.


Well Ecaterina... I am not sure if I told you what happened with her but she basically dropped us. We went in to meet with her and she just told us that she can't progress and investigate our church if she doesn't know anything about hers first. I literally pleaded with the Lord during this lesson to help us keep her. Help us say things that she needs to hear. We talked with her and her husband about faith and that she just needs to plant the seed and it'll take time. She wasn't really having it though especially when she just started saying that she can't live the way we live. But then that week she started talking to Andreea and so we ended up going out all together. It was strange... because we did not feel like this was the best thing for us. But we talked to President Hill and he thought that if she wanted to take us out and show us around Constanta it would be a good bonding thing with her. So we did.... well it was not what we expected at all. And we kinda felt like she was testing us... She is still talking to Andreea which is good but she is just not ready at this moment at time. I do believe that her husband is and I pray that he will stay and listen to the Elders. I know that they are going to talk to him this week so I am awaiting that :) He's one of our (Sora Newell and mine) favorite english students. 


So now it came to the weekend and at the Church we have been doing a fireside for Family History work and how to take people to the temple... people not names. (I'll get to that later) So Sora Newell and I are at the church and we get this random call from this guy. And I can tell he is an older guy and thank goodness I can understand. But he starts out and says. " Hey who am I talking to?" Explained who I was and says," Okay good. So I was walking in the park the other day with my wife and we met with you two cute girls. You gave me a Book. The Book of Mormon." By now he has my full attention and I am literally and I mean LITERALLY running from room to room. Can't sit still. So he continues," I have been reading this book every day since I have met you two. It is so beautiful, poetic, and I feel something when I read it. I want to come to your church and know more. When do you hold service and where is it?" I am in absolute shock and not grammatically correct tell him what time church is and where it is at. 

I have heard of these things happening. I have. I know it happens and that people can feel the spirit come from the Book of Mormon. I feel it everytime I read and I have prayed to know it's true. I know it's true. But in the course of my mission I have never had this happen. I have never handed out a Book and they have read it telling me how beautiful it is and how much they want to know more. After this phone call I basically just started crying... tearing up now... because I needed this moment. I needed to know there were people here that are prepared. I have felt so much loss of hope at times for these people... because they don't want to meet, or they aren't keeping commitments, or whatever it is. There are people here that are prepared. I never EVER would have thought by handing out a Book of Mormon this week to this cute old couple that this man would read it... feel something... call us... and then come to church this Sunday. But that is exactly what happened. Him and his cute wife came to church. Partook of the sacrament and even took a photo with the whole branch. I can't tell you how much of a miracle this is. I can not even explain how much God really does love his children and that he just prepares them in ways that we may not understand at this time. There are people here. I don't know what is going to happen but at least I know that this is a step it is a huge step in a beautiful direction. 


As I said they came to church this Sunday along with Alina, an English student named Diona who wants to meet with us. We had four people at church this week. It was a rough sacramant... primary program with 4 kids... it was DARLING... but rough. Talking about family history through the veil and temple work. But they enjoyed it and thought it was beautiful. They are all willing to still meet. Alina thought Sacrament was beautiful and she is even coming to the Relief Society on Wednesday. Things are growing. Miracles are being shown everyday. I can't tell you how much I have learned this week already... especially since this letter is so long!


We have learned a lot about Family History though this week and it makes me SO HAPPY and I mean SO HAPPY Dad to hear about your adventures now into Family History. I know that this is something that I definitely want to get into when I come back home. I think that that would be amazing! 


I love you all so much and I wish I could share even more. Just know that miracles happen. God is still a God of Miracles. He loves His children and sends us angels when we need it the most.



Sora Stewart

Monday, November 18, 2013

Elder Lybbert and Elder Baielli (after we had just met with Familia Constintinescu)

Sora Newell is so cute she just cut her hair by herself... she's going to do mine tonight wish us luck.

Cold winter nights here :)

We just kept saying 'Merica over and over again. Hahaha it was so funny.

Sora Newell's mom sent her some america food. Haha... don't know how I feel about Velveeta hahaha.

November 18, 2013

Hello loved ones,

Gosh it has been a good week and I wish I could just share with you EVERYTHING that I have learned this week. Seriously it has been fantastic. So much to learn love it :)

First things first though. I feel great. My health is so much better. I am finished with my antibiotics and I really do feel fantastic. :) It's so great. SO GREAT! And I am breathing just fine. Thankyou for your prayers though. I really have felt each and every one of them. So grateful for you all really.


Well as you all know I have been struggling with perfection, because you know that's what I strive to do is to become a perfectionist, not a good thing. Anyways. We had actually gotten this book called "Adjusting to Missionary Life" last transfer and one of my goals from exchanges was to read this book. Holy cow. Changed my mission. There are so many things in there that help you really understand that yeah a mission is hard but with the Savior and his atonement and then with God's help you can do it. You can achieve success. It has this huge section on different trials of missionary life and you just read it once a week and go through different points where it has suggestions of what to do. So with my struggles it told me to start reading the characters of Christ. Oh my world. :) It's been amazing. Everyday with studies I basically have to yell at my companion across the desk because I am so excited to share with her all that I have learned. Seriously I am that excited every day to share with her EVERYTHING! She laughs at me a lot but that's okay sometimes I get a little excited :)

I studies the characters of Christ a lot my first couple of transfers specifically Love. I really needed to understand Love and I still do. But I kinda didn't read as much about the other characters. So I really have been studying and reading about all of the Characters of Christ. I realize that even though I am a representative of Christ I don't always show his qualities, his characteristics. Part of my study was on Virtue which has been so COOL. Obviously we know what Virtue is but really knowing what it contains and how to apply it has been a really fascinating study. In Preach my Gospel it talks about how when we are virtuous we try to control all of our thoughts and really only think of pure things. After I read this I realized how my thoughts drift so much and not necessarily on bad things, I just do concentrate all the time on things that I should. Maybe I'm not focusing in on the spirit or on what I am doing. Maybe I'm not completely thinking of what my purpose is. Maybe I'm not thinking exactly of Christ and what he did for me specifically. It's very much made me try to control everything that I think of. It has made all the difference in the world. Really concentrating on my Savior, how much he loves this people, on my purpose to serve these people and my companion I really can feel how the spirit is working with me. What great blessings it has brought already. :) I love sweet tender mercies from the Lord and answers to prayers.


Well with the language... I mean I feel comfortable talking to people and yeah I can talk and say a lot, but I just do not feel fluent. I still have a hard time understanding grammar principles and how to apply them and use them, and it's just been hard. This week though as I was praying to Heavenly Father I made a resolve with Him to try even harder to really work on everything that I want to say and how I can say it. So on Sunday I really came in with a notebook and a pen to write down how they say certain things and words I just don't understand. I really really really really TRIED to understand everything they were saying and HOW they were saying it. It was one of the best sundays on my mission. Sacrament was amazing, sunday school, and relief society. So beautiful. I remember as they were blessing the sacrament and passing it around, first of all I understood and second of all I felt as though they were speaking English. I don't know if that makes sense? To me I feel that it means so much more to me in English then it does in Romanian. But as speakers came up and spoke and as I spoke to others I felt as though I was just speaking. I mean I know it wasn't all grammatically correct but it felt so good :) Loved those moments.


Well this week we met with a few investigators and we also met with Andreea. Seriously Andreea :) I love this girl so much she is just this light here in Constanta. We first met with Andreea and she wanted to know more about the Plan of Salvation because she has a talk next week so we talked about it and we really talked about how we can apply these things in our lives. I talked about Grandma and how when she died in my first transfer I prayed ALOT to really know that I would see her again, and I know I will. Sora Newell talked about how everything will be made right with the Lord. Then we asked for her testimony. She looked at us and said how she just wanted to be with her ENTIRE family even those she doesn't know. She told us that she had started a bunch of her own family history work... she is the new family history coordinator. Didn't know if I said that already. She also told us that she can't wait until she can go in the temple and do ordinances for them. Seriously she is amazing. And secretly SHHHHH she said she is planning on going on a mission. :) Made my ENTIRE WEEK! :) I love this girl really she is AMAZING. De fapt she just called to make sure we had a lesson with one of our investigators she can come too :) LOVE HER!


We met with Alina this week too. She is such a quite tender soul. We literally went over the WHOLE restoration. She really seemed to understand it and we asked her to pray and read because we want her to know for herself that what we said is true. She agreed and said she would do it that night when she gets home :) We then asked her when she knows that Joseph was a prophet called by God and the Book of Mormon is true if she would be baptized by someone having authority. She was a little hesitant but super willing and said yeah when she does know she will :) She is so great. We are actually going to meet with her tonight with Andreea. Something that was interesting is that as I was talking about our purpose as missionaries and how we know that it will make her even more happier. She just seems so happy and so I stopped and said," well your already so happy but I know that it will make you even happier." She just looked back and said," Well actually I am just always really happy to meet with you guys. I just feel so loved." Made me tear up a bit. She also kept talking about how she didn't really know her purpose here and what she was supposed to do. We are definitely talking about Plan of Salvation tonight. I can not wait :) Abia astept!


Spencer: Well you will be in the Phillipeans by the time you get this :) So excited for you. I can't wait to hear about all the service you will be able to do there. You really will open the way to their hearts :) Love you.



Love you all and I pray for you everyday!
Sora Stewart

It was Elder Bailli's Birthday... I know I spelled his name wrong... hopefully he never sees this.

Me in front of the Black sea... gosh so pretty. I love it

This is the really famous Casino it's literally right on the beach as you can see. It is so GORGEOUS!

Right on the rocks. Sora Lund and I took a bit of an adventure.

I love Sora Lund. I can't believe she is leaving so soon. She brought me into the country!

November 11, 2013

Hey there,

Well I am not even sure where to start. It's been kinda a rough emotional week for me. I'm not the best person when it comes to be seeing. Maybe I get that from dad :) I'm very grateful that I have an amazing companion who does not complain. I hope that we will stick together for this next transfer. I may have even written president and begged... is that too much?

Well, first things first. I am doing better. Today was my last day on antibiotics and I do feel better. Not 100 percent but good enough to go on about missionary work. I've got quite the cough that Sora Newell gives me the pitty look every time. Ughhh I am not a fan of the pitty look. But I am so excited for all the possibilities that we have here in Constanta and can not wait to get started.

From our English classes we have been able to obtain a few investigators. It is so cool. One of the girls, oh my heck, SHE WILL BE BAPTIZED! She actually came to our Halloween party two weeks ago and we were able to meet up with her this week. She is amazing. She prays every night and every morning using her own words. She loves families. That is what she wants. She wants a family she wants someone with good moral values. We had exchanges this week so I wasn't able to go to her lesson but basically Sora Newell and Sora Polatis came back and just screamed that she is GOLDEN. She's a sweet heart and I can not wait to meet with her again this week.

Another lady from our English Class we were able to meet with her name is Ecaterina. She's older and is married and I guess her husband is in our English class... I did not realize this until after our lesson! Embarrassing moment for Sora Stewart here. She's a sweet heart. She basically told us that everything she has heard in our English classes with our spiritual thoughts are amazing. She loves the way we pray and how we have a relationship with God. She also talks a lot. Haha that's fine though. We were really able to put our listening skills together and she really listened when we talked about the Book of Mormon. She agreed to read and she asked next time if her husband can come in with her instead of waiting in the car. HAHA She made him wait in the car. I thought that it was so funny but I also felt really bad. So we will be meeting with both of them this week. :)

Well I said early that I was having an extreme emotional week. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was sick, but I was just so down on myself. I just saw ALL of my imperfections everything that I had to work on. Things that I needed to be better at and I just thought that I can not do this. I can not teach, I can not speak this language, I can not be a good trainer, I just can't do these things. I was so down on myself... sometimes I get a little caught up on perfection. I am just not Mom yet. Mom, how do you do it? So luckily the STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders) came down last week and I went on an exchange with Sora Lund. LOVE HER. I basically just told her of things that I was worried about... basically that I am not perfect and am not this perfect missionary. She literally sat me down and said that God does not expect us to be perfect. Which is true. I feel like I seriously lack sometimes in knowing who our Father in Heaven is. How He acts and how He loves us despite the things we lack and our imperfections. She told me that the way she imagines our Heavenly Father is that He is so proud of us. That when we talk and we mess up or when we try to teach and the are unresponsive it is okay and Heavenly Father is just cheering for us. He is literally on the other side saying,"Hey it's okay! That was great! Look you just talked you testified of me. I am proud of you." It reminded me of Dad's letter that said to imagine Heavenly Father screaming the the TV just like Dad with football. Haha. :) But it's so true. So I really started to study more and something I really wanted to study was Bruce R. McConkie's "7 Deady Herecies." So good just FYI. A lot of it I knew and it was a really good talk but the last herecy he basically says that the heresy is that we have to be perfect to have salvation. And this is part of what he said. Like I said it's AMAZING.

  "We must determine in our hearts and in our souls, with all the power and ability we have, that from this time forward we will press on in righteousness; by so doing we can go where God and Christ are. If we make that firm determination, and are in the course of our duty when this life is over, we will continue in that course in eternity. That same spirit that possesses our bodies at the time we depart from this mortal life will have power to possess our bodies in the eternal world. If we go out of this life loving the Lord, desiring righteousness, and seeking to acquire the attributes of godliness, we will have that same spirit in the eternal world, and we will then continue to advance and progress until an ultimate, destined day when we will possess, receive, and inherit all things"

This is what I am trying to do. I earnestly try to be an example of the Savior I love him and love what he did for us. I love my Heavenly Father and I try to serve him with everything I have every day. But I fall short. This just gave me such hope that as I STRIVE to be this person I will accomplish it. Not now... but it will happen. I just need to strive step by step to be a little bit better. Still a little emotional. But it's been a good week. I have learned so much. I learn so much everyday.

Sora Newell and I. Gosh I adore her. Really I do. Sometimes we are so insych. We try really hard to prepare all of our Books and we have a message in each one. Everytime we have sat down and prepared one together it always ends up being on the same thing. Spirit speaks to both of us there! Gosh I can't wait for this week and all that we have to do :)

I love you all and I love your letters I really really DO!

HAPPY 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO MATT AND CHANTAL! Do you have a name for my new niece? Yes, it's my new niece and not your new baby daughter... haha I'm claiming it :)

Dad and Mom... I'm so happy to hear about the Family History that you are doing. Seriously I can't even tell you how happy I am with that. Here in Romania we don't really have access to that. Or actually we are just getting access to their records. It's this HUGE project going on. I know that Family History is just another way of missionary work :) I'm so excited. You have to teach me all that you know when I come home!

No, I'm not in the same area as the Van Wagners. They were in Galați... I think I spelled that right. Which is like right by the Ukaine border. I'm sure they have gone to Constanta though. It is so pretty!
I also would love to see Erik and Amy maybe before I leave? Who knows I'll have to ask President.

I love you all! And I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Cu Drag,

Sora Stewart

Sora Newell and Me

The Black Sea

So this is a bazin... totally spelled that wrong. That we have to fill up for baptisms. We just have the Elders put it together :)

Rita's baptism with the Constanta branch. So beautiful. Sora Cook who had just finished her mission came with her parents. :) 

So we went contacting at the City Park. Great park just fyi. And there were SWANS in it. It was so cool. 

This is Sora Newell. Hahaha I try to take at least one picture a day. And I felt bad so she went and snapped this beauty for me :) hehehe :)

this is the view from our Apartment. Sometimes I literally have a hard time concentrating cause I just stare at the water. :) 

This is cute little Eva. Gosh she is a DOLL! And Mihai. For the Halloween party. They were twirling and spining in circles. HAHA they are so cute!

And so for the party I was Sora Newell :) and she was Sora Stewart. We may have now confused the whole branch with our names ;)

I'm not sure if Sora Newell putting a witch hat on made out of trash bags wearing my name tag is a good thing or not... was she trying to say something... haha joking. 

Seriously SHE IS A DOLL!

Haha... oh this is Mihai. He is the biggest schmeker I have ever met but he is a great member of the church. He is in the branch presidency. haha.

Some of the branch members Alin Constintinescu the branch president is the one with his hand in the air.

We had ping pong tournament... obviously I did not play...

Haha We had to keep watch of Eva since she kept trying to jump off the couch and she backed up her butt into Sora Newells face. Caught that in action :) haha I'm such a great companion. ;)

Alin Constintinescu is kinda the life of the party seriously. haha

So awesome pictures ahead. Elder Lybbert from Canada is an AMAZING yo-yoish... hope that's a word. But seriously it's pretty insane all the tricks he can do!

Pictures just don't do justice. 

Seriously I love Sora Newell. I may beg President to keep us together. I've been thinking of it honestly!

Ha This is the Constintinescu family. Or their attempt to get a family picture. Alin is always the center of attention.

So something about Romania they are kinda really good at plagerizing. That one day I remember I saw a wedding planner agency and they had the San Diego temple in one of their pictures... haha so yeah. So we found this one in the Mall to have it not be completely stealing they spelled States wrong. Oh goodness.

Sora Newell on our way to church found this cat stuck in a tree that she wanted to save. It was hillarious! The cat literally crawled down bear hugging the tree. One of the funniest things I have ever seen :)