Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I am in ROMANIA!!!


Ce este viata mea?  What is my life?!

It took 3 planes, one train and about 5 taxis BUT I AM HERE!

Holy nuggets, where do I even begin.  I haven't emailed in two weeks.

Okay so I was on a plane practically all day.  We landed in Bucharest and we ran all over the town, eating delicious bread, as we went to several different government buildings to obtain the necessary paperwork.  

We (I) ate more bread.

So we meet our wonderful nashas ("Step mothers" - other sister missionaries) for the evening, who let us sleep over at their apartments until the next morning when we are placed in our companionships.  We hopped in a taxi and I practiced my limba Romana with our taxi driver.  He blared Ke$ha really loudly and drove like a mad man haha.  It was fantastic.  

So awesome sleepover with Sora Parker and Sora Parr that night.  I love them.

Next day, we go into the central park and Present Hill reads the dedicatory prayer.  We sang hymns and all were so happy because we all felt the spirit so strongly.  

Um I love Romania. Like this is my second home.  Not even kidding.  It fits me so well. 

So, to President Hill's home we go and we get our new companions!  My companion is Sora Smith and she is from Orem, Utah.  She is funny and also a redhead haha.  

We got to sleep on a NIGHT TRAIN!  It was like something out of Harry Potter..  I am so sorry, I was too excited (and too tired) that I took no photos of it!

I AM IN TIMISOARA!  It is the cutest little gypsy town in the whole world.  There is an Orthodox church building on every corner.  There are also these HUGE gypsie mansions.  What is funny is that on the outside they look so extravagant but on the inside they are incredibly bare.

MY APARTMENT IS INSANELY AWESOME.  We have a staircase.  A STAIRCASE.  I just can't even begin to tell you all how cool it is.  I also have my own bathroom and I sleep in a HUGE bed.  Photos will follow next week once it has been properly decorated.   

So I am all unpacked and I am in the process of decorating my room hahaha. 

We went tracking for English class, we do that quite frequently.  We have these little cards that we hand out to everyone that say, "Free English Classes".  I'm getting really good at passing out these cards haha let me tell you all that I have found my secret talent.  

So twice a week we go over to Sora Mitin's house and we read to her from the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  Yes, we do all of this in ROMANIAN.  I just still can't believe it.  Okay so Sora Mitin is like the cutest grandmother in the universe.  You just look at her and smile.  She is terminally ill with cancer and is completely blind now and is bedridden.  She is a member of the church and just LOVES the missionaries.  She corrects all of our reading hahaha and then calls us "children".  Haha I could tell she was cracking jokes left and right because she would always laugh at herself.  She tells us that she goes out to the disco tech every night and parties hahahahhaaha. 

Sora Smith and I also teach English classes for children on Saturdays.  Perfect for me right?  Well, haha it is rather difficult for me to control children's behavior in Romanian.  I have no idea how to say "No running in the church" or "Please no yelling" or "Keep your hands to yourself" or "Please don't bite the hymn book" Hahaha.  Sora Smith, who has been here for 7 months is a little too passive and was saying nothing as the kids got out of line.  I was sweating buckets on the other hand hahaha.  I would like to thank my job at Kids Factory for preparing me for this moment. A little 4 year old Romanian girl stuck out her tongue at me when I told her "Stop".  That was like a slap in the face hahaha.

Hahah.  It was definitely a humbling experience.  I just look back on it and laugh haha.  

We had the chance to go to Oradea in a maxi taxi to attend a branch conference.  Part of the meeting was translated in English, and the other half was in Romania.  I had like 70% no idea what was going on but how I FELT in that meeting made up for it all.  Never in my life have a felt so much happiness and peace that only the Holy Ghost can bring.  It was incredible.  I an't even describe it...

The elders here are hilarious.  Today we ate hot wings, went lazer tagging and played card games.  They are so funny and their attitudes on everything are refreshing.  

Romania is seriously so amazing.  This really is the best place for me.  I am loving it all and having a GREAT time.  Gah.  I am just so happy.  

The church is true.
The book is blue.

Photo 1 This huge Orthodox church next to a square where we proselyte in a lot!
Photo 2: My little church building!
Photo 3:Romania bread on our first day in Bucharest!
Photo 4:A Gypsy Mansion

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Popcorn & Travel Plans

So in ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, I will finally be in Romania!


I'm just kind of (really) excited.


We received our travel plans in our mailbox on Friday!  Here is my itinerary (if you care to know) haha

Monday January 17th 
4:30am: depart MTC for Salt Lake airport
8:35am:  Delta Airlines flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota
12:20pm:  Arrive in Minneapolis
3:15pm:  Delta Airlines flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tuesday, January 18th
6:35am: Arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands
9:20am: Fly to ROMANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1:05pm: Arrive in Bucharest, ROMANIA!

So yeah I'm on a plane for a full day haha

So last Monday, I got to go off campus and get my new retainers fitted.  It's always nice to have a change of view ya know?  So the man who drives the shuttle is kind of our best friend, Brent is the best, he has driven Sora Parr and I to all of our appointments.  He was the lucky shuttle driver who got to see me while I was all drugged up post wisdom teeth surgery.  

Anyways, when I was all drugged up, he told me he would take me to get a Frosty from Wendy's, which I really wanted, but never happened, because he had to go drive another companionship to an appointment.  

So he takes me to the orthodontist to fit my braces, and the orthodontist gives us all slushies- mine was blue raspberry just FYI.  So after the appointment we get in the car and Brent says, "Let's go to Wendy's" Hahahahahahah!  So we all went to Wendy's and it was quite an adventure.  

On Wednesday we got to be hosts again and escort new missionaries into the MTC!  I absolutely loved doing that!  I get to host new missionaries again this week and I am so excited.  So to the people who don't know what a host is: A missionary host is the elder or sister missionary who is waiting at the curb, when the missionaries' families pull up to the curb to drop them off I take your bags, reassures your family, drop their bags in their room and then take them straight to class haha.

We taught Oleea and Andrei again, both have committed to baptism and they will be baptized on Saturday.  Although they are acting, it still brings me so much excitement knowing that I can teach in a completely new language and that the Holy Ghost is real and that it is here to comfort and guide us.  In one week I will be out of Utah, no more practice, and I will get to be in somewhere in Romania, teaching others about the gospel of Jesus Christ and explaining to them that the gospel is the reason I am so happy.  I just cannot even wait.  

So my district of Romanian suror (sisters) is so tight.  It is going to be so hard saying goodbye to them in Bucharest.  I will eagerly be awaiting for transfers and hopefully soon, I will have the chance to be companions with one of them.  Currently, there are 16 sisters in Romania and none of them are leaving any time soon so that is super exciting!

Every night, all of the suror gather in my room and we have a popcorn party where we lay our a huge bed sheet, pop bags of popcorn, play uno and talk about our day.  It really is such an amazingly fun time with my suror!  We have a "Costco" display on the spare bunk bed, it's pilled high with treats we receive from our care packages.  98% of our pantry is here because of Sora Parr haha.  So we always joke around and say, "Hey, can you grab me something from the pantry?" ahhahaha.  

This is my last week in America!  So if you have any letters you want to send, send them my way!


No More Wisdom (Teeth)

So this week in the MTC I had the pleasure of having not one, not two, but ALL FOUR of my wisdom teeth removed.  Would you like a back story?  I figured you would.

So it all started two weeks ago.  My mouth was just really achy and I figured it was a cavity. I've never had a cavity so I turned to my companion, Sora Parr and my honorary companions, Sora Barrera and Sora Robertson and basically told them, "Hey, my back teeth really hurt, do you think it's a cavity?" They all started busting up.  They told me that you don't usually feel cavities.  I thought they were losers haha so I still assumed it was a cavity and went to bed.

So next morning I wake up and the OTHER side of my mouth hurts.  Okay, this is weird I thought.  So that night, I tried to put in my retainers and they just wouldn't fit.  Weird again, because I wear them every single night.  So I figured something was up and I made an appointment with the MTC orthodontist to get everything checked out.  

So I'm at the orthodontist and it's this cute little office all decorated like Balboa Beach, California.  They are playing "worldy" music and Sora Parr and I took it as a tender mercy of the Lord.  We accidentally started singing along to Ke$ha, which made the dental assistant staff start busting up.  We immediately stopped singing when we realized we were having a mini jam session.

Okay back on topic, so he looked in my mouth, tries to stick in my retainer, and says, "Hey, lets take an x-ray to check those wisdom teeth". Um okay sure.  The x-ray was brutal.  Two of my wisdom teeth were beginning to breach through the gums and the other two were close behind.  

"YIKES! Sister Lee you are going to need all four of these out stat"
And that my friends is the story of how I had my wisdom teeth removed in the MTC.

I am doing GREAT and feeling FINE.  I've been told I'm not that swollen, another tender mercy of the Lord for sure.  I had my teeth out on Thursday and I tried to go to class on Friday.  I was about 20% mentally there in class haha and my teachers admired my dedication but told me that I needed to go home and rest haha.  

So pre-wisdom teeth extraction, I got to be a host and escort new missionaries into the MTC!  It was a great experience.  It reminded me so much of the day I was dropped off, one month ago at the MTC.  All of the moms were bawling.  Mom did you cry as you drove away?

Otherwise, it was a pretty mundane week.  LOTS OF LOVE!
-Sora Lee


I Speak Spamanian

Haha.  So this week started out quite lovely.

My lovely companion and sister-from-another-mister Sora Parr rolled her ankle in gym.  So now she is on crutches and I am her beacon of hope when it comes to helping her go up the stairs haha.  We have decided that this was a life lesson: Sora Parr needed to learn how to take help from others and I had to be more charitable haha. She is hobbling along just fine.  We always tell her, "Keep Calm and Crutch On".

So we got a new simpatizant (investigator), who was my teacher Sora Wilson.  Her "role play" name is Oleea and she is so cute.  More on Oleea (Ohlaya) later.  We also received ANOTHER simpatizant, Andreea (Andre) who is my teacher Fratele (Brother) Francin.  We teach them both every day.  It really helps us learn the language. Our teachers role play as people that they taught while on their missions in Romania, so basically they take on a new personality, new life events and new struggles.  Both of our simpatizants are extremely different.  Oleea is much easier to teach haha and Andrea asked us, "Do you go to the Disco-tech here?" Hahahaha we started busting up in our lesson.  Our teacher's acting was so good, he never ever breaks a smile or laughs while in character.   We didn't know how to say, "We aren't allowed to, we aren't here to party, we are here to work" Hahaha so we just said, "No, we are missionaries, no" hahahaha.

Okay so seriously, the spirit here is so strong.  I went in to teach Oleea with my companion and we were preparing her to be baptized.  She has been going to church for 3 years and reads the scriptures daily as well as regular prayers.  But for whatever reason, she has not been baptized.  So during this lesson, we decided it would be best to get to know her, not prepare a structured lesson and just talk.  So we are talking and i just get this spiritual promting to ask her about her mom.  So I said, "How is your mom doing?".  Oleea started crying and told me her mom was sick and she is very Orthodox and doesn't support me wanting to become Mormon".

Woah.  Sora Parr looked at me and whispered "Wow"
Yeah.  WOW.

So I just kept talking to her.  I was totally prompted by the spirit.  I really was just putting sentences together, thinking about how to say it in English, and then translating it into Romanian.  It was insane.  I understood EVERY word Oleea was speaking and I kept telling her, "Ele dicisie a fii botezat este dificil mult dar, dicisie a fii botezat este foarte importanta.  Oleea noi facem te ajutam".  Translation: the decision to be baptized is very difficult, but the decision to be baptized is very important.  Oleea we can help you do this".  

Then we asked her to be baptized.  We set the date in one month from now.  I said the closing prayer and as we are getting ready to leave, Oleea comes up to me and gives me the biggest hug, tears in her eyes and says, "Multumesc mult", "thank you so much".  

And then I lost it hahaha.

I cry more in the MTC than ever before.  The spirit here is so amazing.  Like, honestly, it's the reason why I am having so much success.  So Andreea when we taught him, he told us that he just feels so alone.  He said his family left him and his girlfriend is just everything he has.  He is in high school and he is just struggling.  So we were talking to him and we told him that no matter what, God is always there for you.  He said that he doesn't believe in God and he asked how we know there is a God.  So I start bearing my testimony, telling him that I know God exists because I have told him things I have never told anyone about.  I thought I was doing great, then my companion started laughing and I looked at Andreea and he just looked so confused.  

Sora Parr leaned over and whispered, "You just said everything in Spanish" ahahhahahahahah.  I could not believe that haha.  So I speak Spamanian quite fluently hahaha.  

So we had TRC (Teaching Resource Center), where we go and teach random people who speak Romanian (usually they are BYU students who served missions there) and we just go in and teach them a lesson according to the promptings we receive by the spirit.  No notes, just scriptures.  I was freaking out.

But it went great.
So so so great.

So I before I left on my mission, I was blog stalking this one sister missionary.  I seriously blabbled like crazy about Chrissy (Kristina) Hall, she just got home from serving a mission in Romania!  We met up in LA and had lunch.  Well guess what?  She was one of the investigators!  I didn't teach her but the other Surors did!  She saw me come out of the classroom and just hugged me like crazy!  It was so nice to see her!

Tomorrow Sora Parr and I get to leave the MTC to go to the orthodontist, I think my wisdom teeth decided to come in!  Hahaha so tomorrow I get xrays to check their growth status haha wish me well!

Locked Out, Sugared Up and Feeling Fine

Holy smokes,

I have survived yet ANOTHER week in the MTC.  

And I only have 4 more weeks left until I am in ROMANIA!

Okay so funny story......Last night me and my companion Sora Parr and the other Romanian Soras in my room, Sora Barrera and Sora Robertson were up talking and giggling like crazy. We had consumed vast amount of candy (thanks to Sora Parr's friend who sent our district yummy treats) For some reason we all couldn't fall asleep (because we were all on a sugar high) so we were just laying in the bed with the lights off, busting up.  Okay so we started laughing so hard it got to the point where we all really had to go to the bathroom and as always, girls must go to the bathroom in a big herd.  

So we all walk out of our apartment, laughing like nuts and then we hear, "click" as our door swings to a close.  Hahaha.  It was midnight and we just got locked out of our apartment. Hahaha we immediately started laughing, not a drop of fear came over us.  Usually, we put the stopper in the door when we go in and out but since our brains were fried, we had forgotten to do that.  Eagerly, we searched for a bobby pin, you know, so we could get all "secret agent" and try and pick the lock open.  That FAILED.  Haha so it got to the point where we ran to the red phone at the end of the hall which connects us to the front desk.  Sora Barrera was talking to the receptionist about getting us back into our apartment.  We were all so exhausted so of course we had that crazy laugh still going.

"Shoot" she said, "We have to walk all the way to the main building, then they can give us the key".  Okay so that doesn't sound bad right? WRONG.  It was about 5 degrees outside and we were all in our pajamas. We had no access to our coats or shoes because well, they were locked in our apartment haha.  For those of you familiar with the MTC, my apartment is down at the far end, by the big flags, towards BYU campus and I had to run to the main building, with the big glass windows and the check in desk, IN MY PJS. For my non LDS friends, it was the same distance as probably 2 football fields.  Only one of us had slippers on and the rest of us dug through the clothing donation bins to try and find something warm to put on hahaha.

So we get to the main building, wearing random borrowed clothes haha and the man at the front desk said, "This makes for a fun evening" hahaha.  We explained our story, how we all went to the bathroom together and the door shut behind us.  The man receptionist and the man security guard started busting up, "No problem Sisters, we completely understand, girls always have to pee together don't they?"  So they were nice and not mad at us at all and we got a loaner key and got back into our apartment.  That was such an experience.

GEORGE!  Sora Parr and I finished teaching our investigator George.  The lessons went incredibly well.  It gets to the point where we can complete understand what he says.  Sometimes we don't know how to answer and that is when the Spirit really guides the whole lesson.  So I had no idea how to say what I needed to say, so I opened up my Romanian phrase book (I call it the little gray book) and it just so happened to be the page that I needed.

It was such a blessing.

So we had been hesitant on giving George a Book of Mormon, just because we didn't want to seem all pushy.  So it comes to our third lesson and he flat out asks, "Can I please have a Book of Mormon?".  So Sora Parr's responsibility was to bring George's copy but alas, she forgot it hahaha.  So we had to tell him "next time, we forgot it" hahaha.  So then the fourth lesson, our last lesson teaching him, we invited George to be baptized.  Why not right? It's our last lesson might as well.  And he said, "I want to read more of this book before I will get baptized.  But when you come speak to me, you bring me so much peace and happiness.  You are so happy and I can tell that this gospel is something great.  This is definitely something I want in my life.  Will you come back tomorrow and teach me again?"  We told him that we would come back, even though in real life that was our last lesson with him. 

 In our review from George he said that he loves having Sora Parr and I come teach him, more so than the other Soras.  He said that we actually listen to his needs,and then help him, where as just teaching him a random message.  That made Sora Parr and I feel really good because we always struggle to put lessons together for him.  I can't wait to actually be IN Romania.

My Romanian is coming along quite well, I can pray in Romanian, bare my testimony in Romanian, recite the first vision and say my missionary purpose.  It really is amazing how much I have learned in only 12 days.  For my non LDS friends, you can read about the first vision below, as well as my missionary purpose so you know what the heck I'm talking about haha.

A missionary’s purpose is to: “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end” (-Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service)

The first vision is: "When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" This is Joseph Smith's account of what he witnessed after he knelt in prayer and asked Heavenly Father for help

So I got to meet the most amazing people this week!  All of my LDS friends will be jelly!  President Bednar came to speak to us, as well as Sheri Dew and the General Primary President Sister Wixon!  It was great being able to personally meet LDS celebrities-haha.

So at gym the other day all of the Soras were trying to make a basket from the half court mark.  Me, trying to be all funny, decided that I would try to throw it over my head, as I stood backwards, and try to get the ball into the net haha.  Guess what?  I GOT IT IN THE BASKET!  Everyone in the gym must have seen it too because they all erupted in a big, "WOAHHHHHHHHH"! Hahaha.  Yeah, the MTC has enhanced my life in more ways then one.  I might have to sign with the NBA when I come back from my mission!
I am loving the MTC.  Shout out to Erika Hanson for writing me!  She is DA BOMB.  
I am so glad that I am serving a mission, I know that this is exactly what I need to be doing right now! 
La revedere si te iubesc!
Goodbye, I love you!
-Sora Lee

Greetings From the MTC


Okay so seriously the MTC is HARD but it's amazing.  Holy cow so much has happened in the past five days so I have no idea where to begin!

First off, my district, so all the missionaries going to Romania/Moldova (9 of us), ARE ALL SORAS!  There are NO ELDERS!  It is AMAZING!  We are all such amazing friends.  We all get along SO WELL it is such a blessing.  So my companion Sora Parr is basically my long lost sister.  We see eye to eye on everything and we are practically the same person.  Holy cow I am just so grateful, seriously so grateful she is my companion.  

So "drinking through a fire hose" is what they call your time in the Missionary Training Center.  You are pounded with information left and right and it's all coming at you hard and fast.  So I'm in class all day.  The second day in I kind of had a mental breakdown haha, it's a long story and I'll write more about it later.  No joke, (7:30am-9:30pm, with 3 breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 40 minutes long) and I have never had so many headaches before in my life haha.  My teachers ALWAYS and ONLY speak in Romanian haha that was such a shock but I am learning it so fast.  I know how to pray in Romanian and put together basic sentences.  We sing songs in Romanian and it just sounds so beautiful, even if we aren't the most amazing singers.

My district is so fun and my zone is even better (for all my non LDS friends a zone is a larger group of missionaries.  My Romanian District is paired up with other districts.  Are you following? Hahaha) The other 2 districts we are paired with are going to Milan, Italy and Rome, Italy.  These districts are so funny.  We all just love and support each other.

I will write more later today so feel free to email me with your questions and I will respond back!  I'll be sending photos soon!  I have to go eat breakfast and then we get to go to the Provo temple!  It will be such an amazing experience to be there with my district!  I love them and I love ALL of you!

I'm happy, seriously so happy.  "Let your faith always be stronger than your fear".  I know that God places people into your life to help you and strengthen you.  I know that my relationship with you all and my relationship with my district/zone will help me become a strong missionary.  Thank you for your support, it really keeps me going.

La revedere eu te iubesc!
Goodbye and I love you all!
- Sora Lee 

PS YOU NEED TO WRITE ME.  Shout out to ALLI KENCK for being the only person who has sent me a letter!  Out of all the Soras in my district I receive the least amount of mail. Me:1 Them: 2,879.  Help a sister out!  Write me through  Varog! Please!