Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 14, 2014


Well hello to all,

Another week has come and gone. I really am always so surprised at how fast it goes every week. There are just a lot of things I don't understand.

It has been another hard one. We aren't really sure why either. I wish we could say that everything has just been working out and all of our investigators are progressing and so on. We actually have been dropped by all of our investigators. It was so depressing! I have never wanted to just scream on the top of my lungs and just yell to all these people! Well let me break it down for you though.

 

Monday: Was the last time we would meet with Vali for at least 3 weeks. The lesson was good. She definitely has some doubts and she spoke a little bit more about them. We just talked about the importance of reading and praying. She even said at a point I believe in God and all that you spoke about with the Plan of Salvation I just don't even know if Jesus Christ really lived. *sigh* Okay, have to teach a few things now. Hopefully she will keep reading. Hopefully she will pray to really know if these things are true. Hopefully she will want to meet with us after 3 weeks. The spirit was there though and it definitely testified of all that we said and I really couldn't ask for more with that.

 

Tuesday: On the way up to Bucuresti. Gosh how many more times am I going to make the trip? I am not a fan of maxi taxi rides. It wasn't bad though. Zone Training was great and I always just have this huge appreciation for all the missionaries that do serve here and really really do try their best. That really give the Romanian people all that they have. You can see how they have a different light in their eyes then those that just go through the motions. I feel like before my mission I always just thought," Yeah missionaries are great. They serve the Lord. It's just great." I never really knew that there could be bad missionaries or I guess you can't really say bad missionaries but you can say missionaries who aren't here for the right reason. You can completely see the difference in those that let the spirit change them into who the Lord wants them to be and then those that just go through the motions to have the title of a RM or to make their families proud. I think I have just really noticed this lately with people that I have served around and it is so hard to see the difference. It drives me crazy! 

Anyways. As we are walking our of the Mihai Bravu chapel Elder Myler who leaves when I do looks over at me and says," Hey you know we only have two more of those right?" then just walks off. What the heck. Freaked me out a bit. I feel like I am just going to stay here forever. Haha or as Andreea says I don't have a choice I have to stay here. :) It was pretty funny though. We got home later that night and Sora Uhl and I just collapsed into bed.

 

Wednesday: CONTACTING! Yeah... that was our entire day. We went to have a lesson later on with Andreea and our investigators Alina went to institute and so we played a bit of ping-pong with her and then went and had a lesson with Andreea. It was so fun. Right now we are teaching her mission prep since she really wants to go on a mission. She will probably leave in October since she has to wait a year till she can go and she was baptized last September. We went over a bunch of roll plays and went over the roll of every person. An investigator. A member. A missionary. It was a really cool experience and it was just amazing to watch her feel the spirit and teach me "the investigator" according to my needs. It was such a grateful humbling experience. I know I say it every time but I love her to death. I love this girl. We were actually walking home and she knows that it is not in the best chances that I will stay here in Constanta next transfer, she is trying to figure out a way that I can stay haha. She's funny :) 

 

Thursday: Had District Meeting it was so good and something I specifically needed. Elder Myler talked about finding the gratitude and happiness when your at the bottom of the ditch. I really really needed. I feel like I have just been having so many trials lately and they haven't stopped or decreased. It was something that I really needed. 

We went contacting after and it just poured on us. I may need to buy some new shoes. My feet can't stay dry anymore. haha. It's kinda funny though taking off my shoes and seeing how wet my feet are :)

Friday: Gosh Friday was a hard day. Such a hard day for me. We went and did our Internet study to try and finish watching some of the later sessions of Conference. We had to leave early though because we had a lesson with Alina. So we get on the bus and I check the phone and we have a message from her. Literally time just stopped and my heart dropped. She told us that she had talked to her "husband" (not her husband yet) and she can't meet with us anymore. She can't pray or do any of those things. She wants to be friends but that was it. I couldn't believe it and quickly talked to her to see if we can meet and talk about this. She responded back and just nope. We decided to stay Orthodox. I'm not going to change religion. And that was it. She said she would come to activities and still wants to be friends... but that was it. 

The weather absolutely matched what my feelings were and it was just pouring rain. I feel like that showers have just been this transfer. Lots and lots of rain. Just wet cold rain. Sora Uhl as we took the cold wet walk to the church we just couldn't help crying and venting. Just why? Why is it that when they are progressing. Reading. Coming to church. Praying. Coming to institute and other activities that they just drop off. Why is it that Satan just has to do everything he can to bring complete unhappiness to God's children. Why? I literally wanted to punch him in the face that day. And have wanted to every day since.
It was just a very cold wet day for us. Sora Uhl and I talked later and we both decided that we need to learn more of how to dance in the rain. I agree. haha. Finding those things of gratitude and joy when your at the bottom. Just trying to put it into practice.

We finished off that day though with lots of contacting with the Elders.

 

Saturday: Super weird day. Really really weird. A member in our branch his name is Gabi is a missionary in Germany/Switzerland. His father just died and so they had his funeral this Saturday. I only know his Mother since she is the one we have tried to meet with quite often... we haven't actually had success in meeting her. But we all went to the funeral. Let me just say Funerals in other religions are not like they are in our church. I hated it. I'm sorry to say it but I did.
We watched as this priest who is being paid to try and bless the body, and go through this whole ritual. We watched him take out his phone so many times. I wanted to slap him. Does he just not understand that this is a person who just died? Whose family is in mourning and in pain. How can people just do that. I was so angry and upset and sad. I just watched as this family fell to the ground crying because they were in so much pain. The only one who stood quietly with gentle tears falling down his face was Gabi. He's the only member in his family. He was just serving in Switzerland and got permission to come home for a week. You could see in his face how he was so sad that his father was gone. But you could also see the hope and the peace that came from knowing that he can do his father's work. He can unite his family. He will see his dad again and this is not the end. That and I mean that was the only part of the entire funeral that showed hope and peace. It was the face of a member. 

Sometimes I feel like Romania is just so trapped under it's culture and customs. That they just have thousands and thousands of years of history piled on top of each other and they are just buried in it. They can't get it out. They don't know how and sometimes it's just easier doing it this way. It's harder trying to be on top of it. We are just trying though. Planting those seeds. Those small tiny seeds piled with this pouring rain there are bound to be flowers right? April showers brings May flowers.

 

Sunday: It was a really good Sunday. I so needed it. The spirit was there. And I had a tender mercy from the Lord. After church Sora Uhl was practicing piano and Eva who is the branch president's daughter comes up and scares us. Literally she scared me. I really did jump haha. It was pretty funny. She is 3 and so darling. I start talking to her and she tells me that her mom is mad at her right now. So this is our following conversation

"Eva why is your mom mad at you?

" Cause I stole the other kids toys during primary."
"Well Eva that's not very nice did you say sorry?"
"No..."
"Well, why not?"

"Because I was mad! I wanted them."
"Eva don't you know that Christ loves all of us and so He wants us to be kind to one another?"
"Yeah..."
"Maybe you can go tell your mom your sorry and then she'll forgive you like Christ forgives us." 

"Okay I'll go say sorry."
I watch her walk down the stairs and go up to her mom and say," Mommy? I'm sorry I was mean and stole the others toys." 

Her mom forgives her and tells her that they'll say sorry next week to the other kids. Then they start to play together. It was something so tender and so small but it literally made my entire week. It was so special to me that I just couldn't help crying. Yes I have become a baby. Lasa ma. 

 

:)
This week we have about 20 hours of contacting planned... since well we don't have any lessons. We are praying that we will be able to find some people to teach this week. We are going to try and teach Gabi's mom and sisters and talk to them about the Plan of Salvation. Hopefully we can just touch their hearts and let them know that there really are things to look forward to. Praying for this.

 

Well. That's all for now!
I love you all. I know this church is true. I really do. I would not be here if I didn't. I love this gospel. I love my Father in Heaven. I love being a missionary. It is the hardest. Literally the hardest thing I have ever done but it's beautiful and I love it. I love seeing how the spirit touches others. I love seeing just how perfect the Gospel is and how it really does change lives. I love it. That's literally what it is. Love. It's perfect.

 

Love you all.

Sora Stewart

 
April 7, 2014


Hello again,

I don't understand how every Monday comes so quickly. I feel like it wasn't that long ago when I just wrote about the week before and how people yelled at us and it just wasn't very fun. Well, thankfully, this week was so much better then the last. Not without it's struggles, but oh gosh the Lord loves us so much and has sent little tender mercies that have me on my knees so grateful that I have the privilege to be a missionary.

 

Monday: Really weird Monday. We had a BBQ in the back of the villa and it was just a really really long P-day. We all went home smelling like smoke though and all Elder McAllister could say is "mmmm America" haha. Made me laugh. It was really nice though to have taken that time just to relax... Sora Uhl and I just feel like we can never get everything done in a p-day so for the most part they're pretty stressful. It was nice to finally relax for once.

 

Tuesday: Super weird day. For one... plenty of people where leaving from our district and two of the elders I have literally served around for 6 months. We did some contacting and as a goodbye (since the elders love this) we played some Frisbee. We called a few of our investigators but none of them worked out. Some of the Elder's investigators came though and it was a super fun game. I actually can throw a Frisbee and catch! haha. It was pretty fun and I felt sporty for once in my life. Especially since our Branch President is SOOO competitive.

We had a lesson with Vali too. It was super good. I mean the spirit was just there. We really wanted to know where she was going and what we really needed to focus on as we were teaching. I asked her about Joseph Smith and about how she feels and if she has prayed about it. Her response was," Yeah I have. I feel like it happened. It sounds weird and strange. A little crazy. But, I do believe that he saw God and Jesus Christ. That they spoke to him. I feel like it's all true. I just feel so good about all that I have learned." Oh if I could only explain how much my heart sang and how happy I was and I was just trying to not get all watery eyed and make a fool out of myself. But that's what she said and gosh it's so wonderful. We talked about baptism later and she just looked at us and said," You know I think it's great that you were all baptized older so it was your choice. She is progressing. She still hasn't come to church. So we are working on that. Small steps. Small small steps.

 

Wednesday: Ughh... not my favorite day. At all. We did some contacting and then we had a lesson with Alina. Alina the one I have been teaching basically since I got here. We went into that lesson to really talk about baptism and her progressing toward her date. She hasn't been praying to know if these things are true. She isn't applying what we have been teaching. She likes learning these new things... but gosh, she just doesn't want to change right now. I don't understand. I don't. We had her pray right then and there to see if our message was true. I felt the spirit and I am glad we did that. Then, she drops the bomb on us. She tells us that she is leaving the next week to Spain and wont be back until September. Really? That's it? Gosh, someone just stabbed me in the heart. I tried not to look as upset as I felt but I'm not very good at that. I'm happy she found a job. But I'm not happy. I just know how much more she could have had. I just know how much more happiness she would have had. I know these things. We said goodbye probably for the last time in person and I just sat down on the couch and cried. Oh agency. It is her choice. We have taught her with the spirit. She has a Book of Mormon. She has gone to church. She knows what she feels is true. It's just when she wants to accept it. We are going to get her address though and send some missionaries in Spain over to her.

Being in one area and teaching some of these people for so long and then having them drop off is seriously some of the saddest things. I. Hate. It.  I am so grateful that I have been in Constanta for this long. I love it. I just hate seeing those that have felt the spirit and have this knowledge of what is right and seeing them deny it... or reject it because it is too hard.

Now this is where I go on my little rant about Elder Holland's talk, because gosh it was so good. I hope you all were very attentive because that is Romania. That is what Romanian people are. There church is so easy. There Gods are so easy. All you have to do is say a few prayers and you are saved. It's so easy. As we were contacting a girl asked me how we really are saved. I asked her what she thought and she told me that it's like a giant scale that all good actions and desires will be on one side and the bad ones will be on the other. If you were 51% good you go to heaven if you were 51% bad you go to hell and that's it. Doesn't that sound easy? They just see salvation as something that you believe in and you get it. No wonder they don't want to meet with us. haha. We tell them all the things that they have to do and it isn't easy. It never is. Sora Uhl and I talk about this often and as amusing and funny it is to us to really see the Character of Christ and Heavenly Father and for these people to think that it is so easy. I love what Elder Holland said,"Really?". It was never easy. What He suffered? Are you kidding me? I can't even imagine. Yeah I suffer. Yeah missions are hard. Yeah I have had trials that make my knees buckle and have me cry out to Heavenly Father. But I can't even imagine what pains and trials He went through. And all these people, not just Romanians, but everyone thinks it is so easy. It really just made me think of how much more we have to share these things. How much more we have to raise our voice as a warning to people. I'm not saying anything drastic like "soap boxing" but how many people do we know that are dwindling in unbelief. How many of our neighbors really don't know. How many of them would be willing to listen though if we really did share and say hey did you know in the scriptures it says that "No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God?" That there is actual work to do. I don't know how many will listen. I mean. I don't have all the lessons in the world. But, I do know people listen. There are people that listen and care. There are people who do want to know more about the Savior. There are people that do struggle with trials and tribulations. Show them you love them enough to be bold and say,"Hey, it's not easy but what I can show you will bring you so much happiness. Please come." You will always be able to say that "yes, this was so worth it." It really is. 

Well stepping off my soap box now.

 

Back to Wednesday... after a few tears and vents where shed about our lesson with Alina. Andreea came. She is literally one of the biggest lights here in Romania. I am so happy that she wants to serve a mission. She is so so so wonderful. As that day didn't start off the best it did end on a happier note. If Andreea, sweet perfect Andreea, can take a year to be baptized and really then devote everything she has to the Savior. Alina can too make these changes. It may take more time. It may take more challenges. She can accept the gospel and let the atonement change her. 

 

Thursday: Contacting. Contacting. Contacting. and well more contacting. That's literally what my planner says haha. We spent most of the day outside talking to people. Normal. It was a pretty breezy day though and since the weather here can be beautiful in the morning and bitter cold with bitter winds and rain in the afternoon you just never know how to dress! That drives me absolutely crazy about Romania. It really does. It's beautiful and hot. Then it's freezing. MAKE UP YOUR MIND! haha. 

We were pretty chilled though when we came home and I just did not feel good. So I went to bed a bit early. Feel fine now just for the record :) 

 

Friday: Contacting. Normal. We went and did some Internet study though and watched the General Women broadcast. It was so good. I was so grateful for it. I had some beautiful answers to my prayers that day. Oh yeah. I wrote down a huge list of questions for Heavenly Father and have just prayed about them for the last week. I promise you that every single one of them was answered within just the two sessions I have watched. 

Anyways, We went over to the church and had a lesson with our different investigator named Alina. It was... well ok... she had just gotten fired from her job, so she was just very very distracted, and it just hmmm wasn't the best lesson. We really didn't get to teach what we wanted to teach because there was just so many distractions and questions and it was just hard to focus. We got out really late, and we just didn't leave with the peace knowing this is what she needed to know. *sigh* it happens. 

 

Saturday: District Meeting... I am not sure how I feel about our new district. Ugh... I'll get back to you on that. 

We did have a great lesson with Vali though and talked about Prophets. She thoughts it was beautiful and wanted to come to conference, she didn't. Still working on that. We are only going to have one more lesson with her and then she goes on vacation for like 3 weeks. We have to seriously find some new investigators. Praying that with the sun more so coming out these days that we will be able to find someone. That we will meet with someone who is prepared. Really really really praying for this. 

Later we watched the first session of General Conference. Elder Myler's tradition in his family is to always have crepes so he started making crepes and they were super good. It felt like being at home with Spencer's not quite crepes but definitely not pancakes that he would always make haha.
Oricum. I love General Conference. I really really do. I feel bad for how I really took advantage of it before my mission. Not really listening or focusing not really seeing how much it really does apply to me. How many things I could have learned. I mean hello! It's the Lord speaking to us! Duh! Well I have talked a little bit about General Conference and I have only seen the two morning sessions. That's what happens when the morning session starts at 7 at night. 

 

Sunday: Had sacrament and watched the Saturday Morning Session in Romanian. Elder Hollands talk was super funny in Romanian to me. He is just super passionate so it's funny with the translators. Alina and her fiance came the last 10 minutes of church which was a big step... well the fact that she brought her fiance. She said she would be late because he didn't feel very well. But they came. He talked to quite a few members and stayed as we had snacks after. Hoping it went well and he will come again. 

 

I feel like I have had such Tender Mercies and tender answers this week. The work is still hard. Nothing really changes that. I just can't complain though. No matter what happens here and how many people deny me, I can never deny what I really know to be true. I can't deny it ever. I was actually talking with Sora Uhl about this. That after all that has happened in my life, after all that I have seen on my mission, I can't deny the church. I have to stand as a witness and say that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. It is HIS Church. I know it. I know it. I know it. I know it. I can never look back and say that I no longer believe it. I can't. I just can't. I love this gospel. I love it more then anyone can ever know. I love my Savior. I love knowing that as I am here on a mission, as I struggle, I am never alone. I sincerely pray for anyone that does feel like they are going through something alone just to remember Elder Bendar's talk. "taking my yoke upon you." These burdens don't have to weigh us down. They don't. They should lift us up and look up and really see the arm of the Savior and how he has helped us.

 

I love you all so so so so much. I am so grateful for your letters. They inspire me. Just thank you.

 

Love,

Sora Stewart


a couple from Denmark came for church they come I guess every year and they gave the branch all of these clothes. The members were so grateful. It was so sweet and so special. They had collected all of this from tons of friends, and members.
 


She did not want to take a picture with this funny guy :) I like him :)
 


We did some chalk contacting. Sora Uhl got carried away and drew this on my face. :( Good thing it's only chalk.

March 31, 2014


Hello all,

 

I have to admit this week was so hard. So hard. We got bunged a lot and people were just rude. I did learn a lot though and I am so grateful for all the tender mercies that have happened through out this week.

 

Monday: We had a lesson later that night with Andreea and the Olteanu Family. They are seriously some of my favorite people. They have so many trials and adversity but they are always so grateful and Sora Olteanu is always smiling. We decided to talk on the Restoration and Sora Uhl taught that. She did a really good job :) Then we talked about praying to know who to share this knowledge with. It's still really hard for members to give referrals and I'm really trying to ask and receive them. They agreed to try and then to keep us specifically in their prayers that we may find someone to teach. Overall it was a pretty successful P-day :)

 

Tuesday: We had a member present with Vali. I am so surprised with her all the time. She really is progressing. She does have a hard time understanding the scriptures, but I really believe it's starting to make sense to her. We decided to talk on the Plan of Salvation and really do it simply. I love teaching Vali. She is so patient and really absorbs what we say. The spirit was there and with that I feel like we did what we could to answer her questions and for her to understand what we believe in. It was nice with Andreea there because Andreea is the Young Women's President and so with this she may start coming to church more since she has a connection to the church. We will see.

We did some contacting and I just have to admit, I have been getting so burned out on contacting. It has just been so hard. So so hard. After all this time I thought it really wouldn't affect me anymore being denied or having people tell me that I am wrong. But gosh, it's so much harder especially since I now understand all that they say. So I have definitely just struggled in this aspect.

We went over to English class where we had one student. Sora Uhl and I both agreed that we can not do that again since it was a male and he basically chewed out Sora Uhl for being too shy. Ummm no. I was pretty upset since obviously as sister missionaries we aren't going to flirt with you dude! Duh. He's the Elders investigator and we had to tell them after that one of them has to be in our class if he is there. It was just not nice and inappropriate. Ughhh men.

 

Wednesday: Started our with contacting. Still struggling. That was a really really hard day for me actually. I felt that I really was just burning up with no motivation to talk to people it was horrible. I felt so bad because I have Sora Uhl and I am supposed to help her and really support her and teach her. Gosh how much more is she teaching me though. It really wasn't a successful day with contacting at all.

We had a quick lesson with Andreea and then we went to see our other Recent Convert Ritta (she's been living in Jerusalem since October) and that made everything so much better. Literally it just made me really see my purpose and really look at what I am doing as a missionary. I know that all that we do really takes a toll... definitely more of a mental and emotional trial then anything else, but her lesson just opened my eyes.

She used to be Jewish. She was raised in Jerusalem and everything, did not believe in Christ at all. She would always go to church with her husband Petre, who is a member, but she did not believe in Christ at all. She started to meet with the missionaries and one night she had a dream. A dream that Christ was beckoning to her to come to Him, she was so cute as she told this story cause she kept saying no haha, but when she woke up she just knew that He was the Savior. She was reading the Book of Mormon, praying, continually went to church, would always talk to her husband, and she was baptized. People really are prepared.

 

Thursday: Well after all this talk of contacting, and after the lesson with Ritta, Wednesday night I literally just poured out my heart to Heavenly Father and just told Him,"That I am so sorry I have become complacent. That I have not desired their salvation about my comfort." I just poured out everything telling Him how scared I am to be denied again and again and again. How sorry that I am not being the best trainer I possibly can be. How inadequate I do feel in being a trainer. How grateful that I am that I have a patient companion who can see that I do have weaknesses just like everyone else, and she doesn't expect perfection from me like I do out of myself.

I ended up calling Sora Hill Thursday just to tell her what is going on so I can just talk to her about how inadequate I really feel. It was a huge answer to my prayer and her just telling me, "Sora Stewart, it is okay. We are not perfect. We will never do anything perfect. Your best changes and you have to change also. What worked for you at the beginning of your mission isn't what works for you now just change it up. Everything is okay and you are a good missionary." Gosh I needed that.

So I told Sora Uhl after all that I felt and we both agreed that we needed to make new goals everyday to meet so when we come home we can both just tell God that we did all we really could.

Thursday was great. It really really was. After Sora Uhl and I both just talked and really discussed things we could do to really be more motivated with contacting it was a wonderful day. We did get bunged by our investigator... *sigh* that's just a whole other story.

We contacting so much on Thursday and we met all of our goals. We were hit by such opposition though as people were MEAN! A women told me that I do this because I fear God. Well yeah, gosh I'm not perfect so yeah. I had to tell her though that even though I do fear God I love Him even more and that is why I do what I do. She told me I was crazy and I could do no such thing. Ummm excuse me?!?! I looked her straight in the eye and told her I know all that I teach about because the Lord has revealed it to me. It was just crazy. She kept telling Sora Uhl and I that it was all in our heads, that Christ really wasn't resurrected, and that we were wasting our time. Rude. So I just bore my testimony said have a good day and walked away. I really didn't want to fight with her because I just knew that I wouldn't be able to have the spirit the rest of the day if I did. We did contact the rest of the day with determination and we came home with absolute exhaustion. We both hit the beds and just couldn't move. I like that feeling :)

 

Friday: Did some more contacting. I mean a lot of contacting. Same thing happened a lot of opposition. You know sometimes I really just want to punch Satan in the face and just tell him to let go of these peoples hearts, because gosh they are so hard. So so hard. We were then again told that we were wasting our time and we were doing way to much to be saved. Basically this lady told me I need to go home, get married, have kids because that's what life is about. Yeah I agree. I told her we had to do this though that we had a purpose. She was not nice when we said that. She was so rude. Ughh. RUDE PEOPLE!

It literally felt like someone punched Sora Uhl and me in the gut. It also didn't help that Sora Uhl and I agreed to speak Romanian the entire day so it was just hard to vent. haha. Venting sessions help. We didn't loose our goal though and so we were still out we still contacted and w literally did the best we could.
We got bunged TWICE! What the heck. Ughh. Sora Uhl and I came home and just curled up on the ground. It really was a horrible horrible day. But it made me really grateful that I do have Sora Uhl. I do still have the Gospel. I really do know it's true. All that they say can not change the fact that I really do know who I am and what I stand for.

There were some silent tears that night as I said my prayers.

 

Saturday: Was a good day :) English class. The one guy didn't attend and Criscenti came into our class. It was pretty okay.

 

We found out about TRANSFERS! I AM STAYING HERE IN CONSTANTA! That means I will have been here for 7 and a half months! That's almost half my mission. The Lord just still needs me here that's for sure. I am really excited for all the new goals Sora Uhl and I have and all that we want to accomplish :)

We had a surprise lesson with Vali. We literally didn't know we had a lesson. Our lesson was very much directed by the spirit and Vali told us that she loved the Plan of Salvation. She really didn't believe in much of what would happen after this life but now it just makes so much more sense. She also told us that she feels so happy around us that she is always anxious and is just like "no I don't want to go." But then after she is always so happy and comes out even happier then before. :) I love the spirit and all that it does.

We talked about repentance and it really was a beautiful lesson. Vali has already had a powerful experience feeling forgiveness and she was very much wiling to try and apply repentance in her life. It was beautiful.

We contacting and I got to teach about 9 young girls about the Plan of Salvation it was a pretty cool experience. Hopefully we can meet with some of them again :)

 

Sunday: Like I said opposition in all things right? We come to church and our disfellowshipped member... the one who things missionaries are cannibals... walks up to the church building. She is no longer allowed in the building. She tends to attack people. Our branch president had the elders stay outside and guard the building and Sora Uhl and I had to lock the door so she wouldn't come in. She practically attacked Elder McAllister. It was so weird and pretty scary. They had to block her every single time a member would come into the building. One of our members had to leave and he didn't want her to get into the church so he had me help him jump out of the back window. Haha okay that was pretty funny, but that's how serious it got! So that's what we had to do the first hour. Finally she left. During this time I taught our only Young woman Alina about the Savior.

There maybe problems with crazy stories back home but at least this doesn't happen.

I ended up having to teach our Sunday School class in English. Yeah... ummm my brain doesn't know how to do that anymore. There were a lot of pauses because the words were coming in Romanian but these people didn't know Romanian. It was okay though. The spirit was there.

Other then that we went and did some contacting and met some really nice women we hope that we will meet them this week too. Praying for that. We need new investigators.

 

Well. That's about it for this week.

 

This week was honestly one of the hardest weeks on my mission. It was always a struggle. It was always great and then horrible. It was literally opposition in all things. I am grateful though that with all opposition there is always things that stay constant. It is my Savior. It is the Gospel. It is my Heavenly Father. How grateful I am to know these things.

 

I still have my struggles. I still struggle to contact and to talk to complete strangers and have them reject me. I still struggle loving them. I do love them. It's just hard to sometimes. I am still so weak. I thought missions were supposed to make you strong? Haha. Just kidding. :) I do feel stronger but also so much weaker. Literally I can do nothing without Heavenly Father and I know that the blessings this week is that we were able to reach so many of our goals.

-We talked in Romanian the entire day, even though it was so hard and we both just really wanted to vent.

-We contacted for 20 hours this week. With lessons. No matter how many rude people there were we still kept going.

-We gave out all the supplies that we wanted to.

 

It really was a great week. I love my life. I love my Savior. I love this Gospel. I love all that I have learned and all the experiences that have come from this week.

But oh goodness am I glad that it's a new week. The beginning of a new transfer and Sora Uhl and I are still together :)

I love you all.
Sora Stewart

 

Sora Uhl and I made some taco pizza :) mmmm. Yup it was good. Thanks mom for the taco seasoning din nou.


This is my new pet dog Draga. She only understands Romanian but I can take her home and keep her right????


The Mosque. It was so pretty inside. It's really interesting of how they worship and do those things.


I still think you all forget that I live in the prettiest place ever.


Love these two girls with all my heart :)

Love these two girls with all my heart :)



Sora Uhl drew the San Diego temple for Andreea's birthday. It's Andreea's favorite temple. My companion is so talented!


The casino and the beach. Beautiful beautiful day.





March 24, 2014

Hello to all!


This was a hard, amazing, beautiful, full of blessings kind of week. The weather still makes me mad. It was beautiful and sunny (I didn't have to wear tights which is the most amazing thing) and then it gets cold and foggy and ughhh... WHY!? haha. In general it was a really good week though and I love weeks like this. We literally accomplished almost every single one of our goals besides our contacting hours. Which means HELLO we had investigators at CHURCH! AMAZING! I will get to that later on though he he he :)

 

Sora Uhl and I this week really thought over and have prayed a lot over what these people need, specifically, what our investigators need. We both kept coming back to the same things. Simplicity. Just teach simply. So that's what we did.

 

Tuesday. We had a lesson with Vali. After our lesson with the Restoration, really overwhelming with tons of new information, we decided to teach really simply about the Godhead. What their role is, what they do for us, characteristics, and what it really means to us. It was so special to see how we taught it, how her responses were, and how with the spirit there and the spirit influencing everything she started to change her perspecitive. It was so beautiful.

Practically started tearing up with Sora Uhl started talking about the Holy Ghost. It was so cool. To see how the spirit was just moving through her. She was intre-adevar an instrument in the hand of God. You can just feel how much He really loves Vali and how He really wants her to understand. It was beautiful. After our lesson Sora Uhl looked up at me and smiled and said," I have no idea what I said." Tender mercy.

 

We "taught" English class after. Now we really didn't teach since nobody came to class. Andreea came in though and started talking to me. Sora Uhl started drawing on the board. *see attached picture* It was also another tender mercy as Andreea started talking to me, she didn't like one of the missionaries that is here currently and as she talked to me, asked me to close the door, and then says," Sora Stewart I apologized to him." I was in shock. Didn't know what to say. Was super super confused. I knew what she was talking about, but I didn't know what happened. She continues on and says," I judged him and I was wrong. I thought he wasn't a good missionary. I though this and this and this. I was so wrong. And I feel so bad. I just had to tell him that I was sorry because he is a good missionary." This new convert of 6 months has already grasped a huge concept of repentance and forgiveness. I love her. I can't deny that my heart just swelled and I just wanted to hug her and I wanted to cry because what she did is so hard. To let go of pride. Just say sorry. Just let it go, don't let being offended stop you. She did it all. It was a beautiful day. Beautiful beautiful day.

 

Wednesday. We were leaving on Thursday which was Andreea's birthday so we decided to go out to lunch with her on Wednesday. It was like a literal Andreea day. Haha. We went and had Chinese food and she wanted to go to the top of the Muslim mosque that over looks the whole city. It was so cool. Andreea during lunch shared some things she was learning in the Book of Mormon and wants to know more about agency. Haha I would too actually. We had a lesson with Alina and she came to institute. Seriously. Blessing. She had to leave early because she had to go to the doctors but she came. She came to institute. She started to answer questions. She read from the Book of Mormon. Progress. That's all I am asking for. I will be patient. I just know how happy she can be with these things.

 

Thursday. Well we had like a half day here in Constanta because we had to leave to get into Bucuresti. Sorry I don't know how to spell it the American way now... my bad. We had district meeting and Elder McAllister taught it actually. It was so good. He talked about love which is my favorite topic ever. I am just never adequate at this. I try. But oh goodness I can improve. It was a beautiful lesson really and I'm really grateful for it.

 

Sora Uhl and I hadn't really done much contacting this week. Ughh. I still struggle with contacting. How I hate it. haha. I'm trying not too. And this week we are going to try and get 20 hours of contacting. And we have a busy schedule. But to get more contacting in we decided we would just put all our stuff in these backpacks we bought... yeah mine ripped already *sigh*... then we would do some street contacting. We walk about 5 feet and then we get stopped by this lady. I don't know her name but she kissed me like 5 times. haha. It was funny. She used to come to English class but I have never taught her and she loves missionaries. Her husband used to be an investigator but no longer is meeting with the Elders. She was so cute though so I just took the opportunity and asked her if we could meet at some time and talk. Of course she loved that idea. And wants us to come over and talk to her. Haha we will see how that goes :) The rest of the time we tried to contact with our survey. We stopped a few people but nobody had time. Ughh dangit. I felt really bad because there weren't many people on the streets our back packs were heavy and it was a good 2 hour walk to the gara. We did it and we did talk to people but not any that were interested at this point. Poor Sora Uhl. It was hot and it was just hard. We both got some great blisters from it though. :) Note to self don't do street contacting with heavy backpacks on.

We went and stayed with the Aviatiei sisters. It was like a sleep over with all my past companions. :) haha it was really fun. I loved it.

 

Friday. Zone conference. Beautiful as always. I loved it. :) It was really hard though. I had to watch some of my dearest friends give their dying testimonies (basically people who are going home this transfer and next) Sora Gerhartz my dear Sora Gerhartz had to get up! Dangit. haha. Almost started crying. Was pretty close. We learned a lot more about how to actually use Family History in contacting and I really want to do it. I think Family History contacting if we had all the resources we did in the states would be amazing here. The hard thing is that none of them have ancestors that are already put on Family Search. They have to go visit grave sites and go to all these different places to find their records. The search is trying to digitalize all of their records though for free. So we are in the process of that. I hope and pray that in a few years missionaries will really be able to use this tool.

 

President Hill talked about rejection. Haha normal. That happens a lot here. Something he said though was, " They are not rejecting you, or even the Savior, they are rejecting the opinion/image of what you do." It's so true. They really don't know me or what I do. They just know that we go and knock on people's doors. That we preach and try to call repentance and get people baptized. It's all true. Just they don't appreciate that until the really do get to know us. We just have to do all that we are able to do in the moments we can. We have to just bear testimony. We have to love them. No matter what. We have to serve them. Smile. Laugh. Let them know that their is hope. There is light. There is happiness.

 

I feel like to this point on my mission I have been able to do all of this to the best of my ability. I know that maybe I haven't had the most baptisms or the most converts. But gosh darnit. I love these people. They make me laugh. They are so stubborn sometimes and I still love them. I love them and they make me smile. I love it how I say Hi to every single person and a person stops and walks back to me and says Hi back and then looks and says," I don't know you do I." I only tell them,"Nope, I just wanted to say hello." Then the biggest smile comes across their face and they laugh a little embarrassed and confused. It's my favorite :) I love Romania. It's so hard, but I love it. I know miracles will happen someday here. I just have to do what I can now :) I will just do what the Lord wants me to do.

 

Saturday. Really super super long great day. We had a really early start as we had a lesson with Alina (other Alina sorry) She didn't read her scriptures so we read together and then talked about it a little. She is so funny and has so much light to her. We talked about the foundation of the gospel and she was just marking scriptures as we read together. I love reading scriptures with my investigators. Before we could even ask her. She told us that she would be reading and wanted more chapters to read and then would be coming to church tomorrow. Sora Uhl and my jaws basically dropped. haha it was a tender moment.

 

We had English Class and it was really fun. We played a game called would you rather. There are some funny funny things in that game. Our students really enjoyed it too.

 

We had another lesson with Vali after our lesson and we were going to talk more about God's plan for us. We asked her to read 3 Nephi 11 and she read it but didn't understand anything. She was really frustrated about that and didn't know why we kept asking her to read it if she didn't understand anything. We didn't want her to feel this frustration, because I know this frustration haha. So we decided to read it together and break it apart. It was AMAZING. We started reading and applying it to what we feel and how she feels. About how special it was that the Savior came to these people. We were just going to stop and then go more on about God's plan but when we stopped she looked up at us with eager eyes and asked, " Do we have to stop? Can we read some more?" Umm yup. Haha. I was so excited and surprised. We would read a couple of verses and then she would stop and say what she felt like it was saying and would look up to see if she was right and we would just nod. She had a sweet smile on her face.  She is really starting to get excited about the gospel. She starting to gain this further light and understanding. I'm so grateful that I can be a missionary and I can just see this process. It's so special. So so special to be a part of this.

 

Sora Uhl was asked to give a talk on Sunday and because we found out on Friday we had to go and write her talk. This girl freaking did it all by herself. I was amazed. It was beautiful. It was too funny too. She was reading it off to me so I could see if their were any mistakes and she goes, "Today I want to talk about bees." Haha I started busting up laughing. I had to ask her, " You are going to talk about bees." She laughed and said yup. That's my topic. Is how to be like bees and work and serve together. She was just looking for that big reaction.

 

Sunday. We had two investigators at church!!!!!! WHAT! I know. I know. It's a miracle! It really was haha. Tender mercy. Literally I jumped up and down in my living room knowing that both of our Alina's were coming to church. Alina (one with baptismal date) came for all 3 hours. Relief Society was a little rough since their was some false doctrine taught and then that started off a fight. *sigh* We were so close to not having any of that. But it was good nevertheless. We talked about sacrifices in Sunday School and Sacrament was beautiful. Our other investigator Alina came just for Sacrament but after she said that she just wants to come all the time. It was really special.

 

We did some weekly planning. We have so much planned for this week. Literally we will have a lot of lessons. With our recent converts, investigators, members. And we are going to contact for 20 hours. That is our goal. We can do it I know we can!!!!! It'll be hard, but I know we can do it. I just feel so blessed. We have been given people to teach and love. I serve in one of the best branches. I love these people. I love my district. My companion is AMAZING. I love it. I am so blessed. Just so blessed.

 

I love you all. Just remember to count your blessings!

Love,

Sora Stewart

 

 
March 17, 2014


Hello Everyone!

It's been a wonderful, amazing, sunshine filled week. (For the most part.) Therefore my topic I didn't have to wear tights... I may have gotten some evil "what the heck" glances from the old ladies here but Sora Ule and I just didn't care! The sun was shinning there was a nice breeze it felt GREAT!

 

Well I feel like I just start over all the time with the week. It's weird and I feel like I tell a lot of the stories. So if you are still reading all of my emails, I am super impressed :) This week though was amazing so I hope you keep reading! Sora Ule and I were just so blessed. So amazingly blessed and we learned so much this week. SO MUCH!

 

Well Tuesday we had a busy day. Started off with some contacting and then we had a lesson with Vali. She's our 16 year old investigator and she's great. She doesn't really have a firm foundation on any religion or any real sense of what or who God is. The week before we talked about Faith mostly about just trying to read the Book of Mormon and then this week we moved onto the Restoration. Oh gosh. It was hard. It was a good lesson it was just a lot of new things for Vali. She did agree to pray about it. It was a good realization for Sora Uhl and I to know how to teach her though. She really didn't know anything about Christ or God or anything. I'm grateful that she is still trying to meet with us and progress and she does want to know more. Just have to take things more slowly. Sora Uhl taught a good portion of that lesson and I kept "accidentally" leaving to grab things while we were teaching Vali english (she doesn't know any english so we do 30/30's) so Vali and Sora Uhl would talk. :) Sora Uhl did an amazing job! We had our English class and in our English class we learned more about prophets and dispensations it was really really good. 

 

Wednesday we only had a plan to teach Andreea this day. I seriously love this girl with all my heart. She calls me her sister. I can't leave. It would just break my heart in half to leave her. We wanted to talk more about her baptism and the sacrament. Specifically of how she can renew it. I know I tell you how amazing she is but really she is amazing. She told me that this week that she was trying so hard to keep all of the commandments that she wasn't going to break a single one. She was really trying to pay attention to what she was doing and follow the spirit. But one day she didn't go to school (ditching hehe Andreea) and her mom came home and asked and she told a little lie. She said she realized how easy and how fast it was. What was amazing is that it was just a little thing she did but the guilt she felt and how she felt just hurt so extremely much that she couldn't wait until she could partake of the sacrament to be clean again. She's my most favorite person in the world. She never ceases to amaze me. 

 

We were about to go contacting when one of our formal investigators called us wanting to meet right then and her name is Alina. She is a sweet heart so we went over and met at the church and had a good discussion. She's a wonderful person and told us how the Book of Mormon changed her life it gave her more purpose and happiness. Her fiance is against her being baptized... ughh always problems with those things... but she does have a desire to learn more and she did want to be baptized. She randomly called us because she felt that since she stopped meeting with the missionaries she has just fell back into this depression and it's been a really hard time for her. I hope that with her meeting with us that she can just be filled with the hope and happiness the gospel does bring in to our lives. I always just want the people to teach to understand that I am not here just to teach them but I want them to have all the happiness that I have because I have the gospel. I don't just do it for nothing. I want them to have what I have because I love them! I sincerely love them. I can't wait to meet with Alina again though :) It'll be great!

 

Thursday. We had a lesson with our other investigator Alina. We had our branch presidents wife with us Mariana and I am so grateful she was there. She is basically the best teacher ever! She just bore such powerful testimony and I'm grateful because it was a hard lesson. She hasn't been remembering our past lessons and she still is coming to church. Agency people agency. Small steps. Sora Uhl and I after the lesson just felt absolutely horrible though. It was just so disheartening to see how she is just partly accepting the gospel. Sora and I talked about it after though the next morning... and we all feel like we have a better understanding of how to teach her. Little steps. She just can't handle all that we are trying to do and we both feel that we need to teach her little by little. Lots of prayers for her. I know she'll be a member. I know it. I know she will accept it. I know it.

 

Friday we did some district/member contacting. I've told you about the best member in the world right? Well she agreed to go contacting with us! Oh my gosh I was so excited. We met with her a little bit before so we could do some roll plays. Such a beautiful tender mercy it was watching Sora Uhl go through roll plays with Andreea and vice versa. They are both such great missionaries. It was fantastic she is going to be the greatest missionary ever. She was so nervous though... and I have to admit I was too. People are not the nicest when we go contacting and I did not want her to ruin her desires to go on a mission. Lots of prayers and comfort and we started our contacting off with a prayer and so there we went. We drew out the plan of salvation luckily Sora Uhl is an amazing artist and we had a lot of people stop to talk to us and Andreea just bore her testimony. It was still hard for her. We didn't get anybodies number... and there were some people that were just rude, normal. Andreea didn't stop though and she was grateful for the experience. I'm grateful for that experience.


Later we were supposed to have a lesson with one of the english students but we got bunged... saddness. Happens though.

 

Saturday. English. Our branch president was in our English class. I can't teach him anything he's a dang translator for that church! Haha. But he came in to be supportive and we played a bunch of speaking games. It was so much fun and our students seemed to have fun with it too. We tried to get them to be more competitive! Gosh dangit these people are just not competitive! WHY THE HECK NOT! Alin was probably the only one that was and Sora Uhl and I tried to make it more competitive... ughh dangit. America. You guys are great with competition! haha. I miss that! I felt super happy after though as Alin complimented Sora Uhl and I on how we teach and he told us that we were doing a great job. It made me happy and just grateful that the Lord has just given me the opportunity to learn how to teach and how to become better. 

 

"If I fail it's my fault. If I succeed I am grateful to the Lord who has prepared me to succeed. All things go to Him."

 

Really working on Humility this transfer. It's been one of my favorite things to study and I feel like my relationship with Heavenly Father has just increased as I have thanked Him for everything. All that I am and all that I have accomplished is because of Him. Let go of the pride. Let go of the pride. 


Later that night we had an activity and we had a bunch of Tibi's kids at our activity again. (the first counselor who is a theater teacher) Oh his kids are the kids he teaches they are all like 16-19ish is my guess. Anyways they came for like a Q and A. They were basically able to ask anything they wanted about us, what we do, what we believe, rumors or whatever. We first shared the restoration and then we opened up for questions. It was really good. They really actually thought of good questions and I hope that they will realize what we teach is true. We will see what happens though. 

 

After we sang Karaeoke? Spelled that wrong. It was so fun. Alin started rapping. That was priceless our branch president rapping in english. It was great :)

Just a side-note. It was a super weird week with men. Literally maybe it's because we didn't wear tights this week. But it was crazy. We met a for real crazy man. We called the elders and they helped us out there. He thinks we are some kind of devil worshipper he's also the guy that told us that there is no Christ. Seriously crazy. Then we just kept running into different people that tried to ask us on dates. We didn't contact a single one of them. I don't contact men. They kept talking to us. It was so weird! A man wants us to date his sons. hahaha I told him that we can talk to them with the elders if they want to know more about the gospel but that's it. haha he said that they will listen as long as we're there. Hmmm don't think so. It was just the weirdest week with them. Sora Uhl and I both just think the men here are crazy hahaha. It made for a pretty funny week though.

 

Sunday. I had to translate for the District Young Men and Young Women's president for our Young womens class. We only had one Young Woman Alina. She's a sweet heart. First I was just translating from Romanian into English but then I had to translate from English to Romanian. that was pretty hard. Andreea taught her lesson though on faith and it was amazing. Duh. They want her to present her lesson at leadership counsel in a couple months :) She's that cool people. It was branch conference and so our district president came down Doro. He's talk was fantastic it was super funny he talked about how we now have sister missionaries in every city and how the work is going forward the members just have to join in. It was funny though because he says how they need sisters because we do twice the amount of work that elders do. Oh my gosh I was laughing so hard and the elders gave Sora Uhl and I a fist bump. It was sweet though :) 

 

It was an amazing week though. We did a ton of contacting and we had a few lessons which was amazing! They weren't all exactly how we would have wanted them but the Lord let us know how we needed to teach and that is special. I love the gospel people can I just tell you that. It's amazing and perfect! I love being a missionary. :) It's AMAZING! I never want to go back to the person I was. I just have to keep progressing. I have to keep going forward. I will always be a missionary!

 

Love you all so much!
Sora Stewart

 

MATTHEW and CHANTAL! I didn't get to see a picture until today. Mom's pictures didn't work hahaha. I had Andreea add mom so that way I could see a picture hahaha. I was super anxious! CONGRATULTIONS! I am so excited to meet her! I love her already. I want to see more pictures. I'm so excited for the three of you though. I love you all so much and your always in my prayers. I can't wait to see you all in a couple months. I have a really cute outfit to give Kiana :)

LOVE YOU ALL!
March 17, 2014


Sorry forgot to say that the only thing that's really affected us with Ukraine. Is that the members can't go to their usual temple trip. It's been post poned until it changes or they might just go to Germany :) Sorry forgot about that
We went English contacting and we came across this adorable guy. He even took an English card :) Seriously was the nicest dog ever!

Sora Ule teaching Andreea :) It was so cute
 

I love my companion :) Sorry we are going to get better at taking pictures I promise!