Monday, March 30, 2015

Sharing My Story

So I was sick for 2 days this week (it was just like a cold or something lame-no cool strokes or anything) and I slept like all day haha.  It was totally rad.  

I also tried not using slang this week.....and well....I bet you all can figure out how that worked out....It didn't...but this week i will try again.  Crud!

Sora Wright and I also got to present at our Zone Training Conference which was so awesome.  president asked us to present our new way of contacting, something called "My Story".  What is it is, is just being a real person with people!  Not trying to push the gospel from the get-go, just to "sell ourselves" in a sense, and then as people recognize that we are normal people, they will welcome our awesome message next!  It's so brilliant.  Like, duh, 'been doing this since I was a new missionary!  People, especially here, aren't going to be jazzed about two kids knocking on their door saying, "hi, we are missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we want to share a message with you".  That simply doesn't attract anyone anymore!  I'm so glad president is on board with this and I'm glad he asked us to push this!   SOOO STOKED!  

They also asked us to really think of "our story".  That moment in your life when you just knew all of this was true.  That moment when you decided to serve a mission.  That moment that actually kept you ON your mission, the reason why you didn't throw in the towel and bounce back home.  

I thought it correlated well with the classic "story plot line" that we all learned about in 7th grade English.  

It goes a little something like this:

Now think of that one moment, that significant event in your life.  Ten bucks it follows this pattern.  I know my story does.  

President asked me to share my story with the whole zone.  And wow, it was crazy, I just had to open myself up and share it with everyone.  Best part was, I got to see the look on the missionaries' faces as I told them why I'm here.  I knew that some had gone through the same struggles as me.  And I knew they had overcome those same issues and made it on a mission.  

I just know that this "my story thing" will go over so well here in Romania.  People want REAL people to share with them a REAL really good message.  And if I can tell them about my personal experience of prayer or repentance or enduring to the end, they cannot reject my own experience.  And that leads to a more open window to introduce the gospel.  

LOVING the work, LOVING the people and LOVING the Lord,
:) Sora Lee

Photo 1:  I get to see "Laguna" outside my window every morning #blessed
Photo 2:  A little handout that I made for the EAST Zone!
Photo 3: Ha! Accidental twinning at church with Elder Morby!  Fun fact- I spent Easter with him last year in Timisoara!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 Things

I don't have too much time to email but I just want to tell you 3 things:

1.) I am so glad for the choice that I made to serve a mission.  It's basically a crash course on life and it has made me into a much better version of myself.

2.) I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers through other people.  I just want to thank everyone for the emails that they send me and how much it really gets me through my week.  Most of the time, the things that I need to hear, often come through your emails.  Thank you for helping me get through some of the most difficult times of my mission. 

3.) You are incredible.

Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord,
:) Sora Lee

Photos 1 and 2: Some pictures of Galati! (We live behind that orthodox church)

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Happiest Day of His Life

This week was very mentally draining haha but I came out alive.  

Phew.  Missions man, they aren't a cake walk.  But they're pretty sweet.  

So a lot happened but I just wanted to focus on 2 things:

Magda, one of our investigators, asked us to come meet to her dying father, in hopes of bringing him some happiness in his last moments.  So we go in and he is terminally ill and he is like this skeleton on the couch and he wasn't listening to us at all, he was just staring at the television.  We were trying to make small talk and he was just a vegetable, totally unresponsive.  We sat there for about 2 minutes in defeated silence.  Then, words just came out.  "What was the happiest day of your life?"  He looked at us and said, "The day I had my children and the day I got married".  and then he went back to his vegetable state.  

A few minutes later, Magda and her mother come in crying, they had been eavesdropping in the other room.  They were just so happy and they told us, "We never thought he cared about us".  

I am so grateful for the spirit putting those words into my mouth.  SO so so grateful.  

He ended up passing away a day later.  We attended his funeral and it was the saddest, most pathetic thing.  Wow. I cannot even put into words the emotion there.  I am just so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation and that we can be forgiven of our sins through Christ's atonement,  be judged according to our faith and works, have a beautiful, resurrected body free of sickness and pain and ultimately, live with our families again.  

We had exchanges this week in Iasi and it was INCREDIBLE.  I miss that city, it is weird that I served there six transfers ago!!!!!!!  Going back was insane, I still knew the whole city like the back of my hand.  We got to visit my favorite member, Sora Padure and I felt inspired to ask her about her mother. Turns out her mother lives here in Galati and lives alone!  She asked if I could go visit her!  We hugged and I just felt the spirit so strong in that moment.

I'm learning that scripture study is so important and that I need to read my scriptures every single day or else I feel horrible.  It's like a little part of me is missing!  The same also goes with prayer, it's just one of those things you have to do every day, like eating, using the toilet or brushing your teeth.  SO IMPORTANT.


Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord.,
:) Sora Lee

Photo 1:  Spring is here which means red hairrrrrrr
Photo 2: 5 hours on the train = selfies
Photo 3: Me and my favorite Iasi member SORA PADURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Photo 4 : The bombest paper towels with TOM AND JERRY on them!
Photo 5: Hello Kitty toilet paper for when sisters come to our apartment for exchanges! (it smells like roses)
Photo 6:  FOr those of you who asked what I eat on a normal basis:  This. An egg, some potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, squash and peppers.  I eat this like, every single day haha

Monday, March 9, 2015

Missions Are the Weirdest Months of Your Life

Hey!  I am still alive!  No more strokes for me! 

To update you all:  

Sora Trebas (my daughter, best friend and dearest companion) made the glorious mistake of telling me before the MRI that all the noise sounded like a mixture of Daft Punk and construction sounds. So I guess my body subconsciously was dancing to the Daft Punk . . .  and the nice Romanian doctors came in and sedated me haha.  They shoved this tube up my arm and totally numbed me and I couldn't move.  Hahaha claustrophobic.  But I survived and Santa Claus didn't eat me (hahaha catch my joke #corny).    

I get the results in 3 weeks.  No clots or tumors so I'll take that.  Something was out of sorts but the doctor didn't seem worried so I'm not either!

Sora Wright and I were so exhausted on the way back from Bucharest, from all of my appointments and our leadership meetings and transfers, that we slept in some pretty odd positions.  Hahahaha we were completely oblivious to this, until we were woken up by a whole cart of laughing Romanians hahaha.   Let's just say, there was drool on my back from my colega who had used my back as a pillow as I found peace on the arm rest as I sat sideways in the seat hahah.  It was wild hahah.  But hey, we slept the whole way home for 5 hours!  

Here, paint "huffing" is a big thing.  Huffing is where you put some paint in a bag and inhale it until you get delirious.  So this young man was huffing paint like wild in the amphitheater behind the church and we were all so sad by it.  So Elder Degraw yells out the window in his best Romanian Guardian Angel Voice "Why are you throwing away your life man? You are better than this!"  Hahah it freaked him out GOOD!!!!!!  But just for like, 5 seconds and he did it again.  Darn.  


We went to go visit our investigator and she asked me to hand her her glasses, when i went to grab them, I noticed something odd.  She had 2 pairs of glasses put together, and on each pair of glasses, one of the lenses was missing.  One was missing the left lens, the other, the right lens.  So she combined them together, holding both pairs up to her eyes, because she didn't have enough money to buy a new pair of glasses.  

We also went to visit another investigator and her family is struggling financially.  She gave us a plate with 3 tiny oranges on it, all cut up and a bowl or corn flakes.  It was so sad and I knew it was all she had for food.   I did not want to take her food but she left us with no choice.  We sat there, eating this humble meal, and I just knew inside that she wasn't going to eat tonight, because she fed me.  

I am so grateful for all of my many blessings and that I have a chance to be a missionary.

Romania is changing my life.

Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord.
-Sora Lee

Photo 1: Me and Treebs bonding over pizza (we got to stay with them after my dr appointment)
Photo 2: My planning face
Photo 3: Flowers from a ward member and a nice bloc in the reflection
Photos 4 and 5 and 6: The galati apartment is BOMB.  Just some of the awesomeness

Video:  Dog Reunited with his' Return Missionary after 2 years WATCH IT

ST(R)OKED to be a Missionary!


Just thought I would let you all know before I tell you about my week.  

(Sorry this email is so long I had to tell the whole story)

Well, this week during English class, in the middle of my lesson, my left arm completely went numb.  I couldn't feel it.  I excused myself and walked to the back of the class room, throwing it all around to try to regain blood flow.  Nothing happened. Then, I lost vision in my right eye.  Weird.  About a minute later, one of our elders came downstairs and he starts talking to me and I tell him what is going on-well at least I tried, all my words slurred and made no sense.  Then, I completely lost my balance and was unable to stand without falling.  All I could think was, "Holy crud I'm having a stroke".  

So after a quick Google search, the elders decide to take me to the emergency room here in Galati.  It's either 2 things- a mini stroke, which often occur in young adults with family history of heart problems or the beginning symptoms of MS.  JOY.  So We get into this taxi and the elders tell the driver to step on it.  The man halls booty to the hospital, and he kept looking at me in the back seat.  So to spice things up, my body goes into shock and that freaked me out and it freaked out the driver too so he sped up.  

We get to the hospital and nothing is clearly marked so we run around this labyrinth for a few minutes asking people where to go.  We get to the ER which is TOTALLY um....different (sketchy).. here in Romania.  People are like dying and wailing and you have to wait in a line to be treated, no matter how serious it is.  I walk in and I'm like 20th in line.   Then, this man nurse runs around the corner, grabs me by the arm and says, "Come with me, I can help you NOW".  So, he pulls me into this side room with other nurses and patients and he sits me on a bed and takes my blood pressure.  Elder Degraw followed me in because he is fluent in the language and was helping me put sentences together to tell the guy what was happening.  

Man nurse tells us, "I saw you missionaries on the train last week and you have this positive energy, this light about you, and I never forgot you.  You walked in and I saw you and I knew I had to help you".  I was crying- partially because I was stroking out in Romania and partially because his message was so sweet.  

So then, I go back in the lobby and wait for the main Dr. Lady to come get me. I sit next to this old lady and I start talking to her as much as I can.  She looked so much sadder than me and I just wanted to help her.  So we chatted and I learned that she had been there since NOON.  It was now 9PM.  YUP.  Her granddaughter came over and talked with us too.  

My name gets called and everyone in the waiting room freaks out because it's not your typical Romanian name but "Kendall Lee" and I get up and I hear someone whisper, "She's foreign but definitely not Chinese like we thought!"  Hahahaha.  
So I go in this room and tell the lady about what is going on and she gives me this vile, tells me to drink it and then wait back out in the lobby.  So I drank it haaha and sat back in the hall. 10 minutes later she calls me back again and she is like, "You have a calcium deficiency in your blood, you can go home".  No blood tests.  Nothing.  So she pushes us out of the hospital and I'm just confused and so is the group.  

Next day, same thing happens and the elders gave me a blessing.  They tell Sora Ivory and she wants me to come down to Bucharest immediately so I can get medical treatment there.  So we call a private driver to drive us down to Bucharest.  We get in at 1:30am and we get to the hospital at 2am.  I go up to the desk and tell them I have stroke like symptoms and that I need a dr.  Everyone LAUGHED at me.  Then, this one mean man looks at me and says, "Oh you're Mormon" and they all laughed.  And I am crying and I said, "Yes I am a Mormon, does that mean you won't help me?"  Sora Ivory starts talking to them in English and they laugh some more.  I was just done.  Mentally and physically done, in a hospital at 2am and not getting help, so I just laid my head down on the desk and cried.  

The man comes around the desk and he is like , "Stop crying.  I'm going to cry.  Do you want that?"  And I was like, "YES!"  ahhaha and he took me to see the dr.  So I meet this nice nurse with red red hair and she does these tests on me and has me lay in a bed and she hooks me up to one of those beeping heart machines.  The man across from me is drunk, the girl next to me is hooked up to weird wires and is half nakey on the bed.  So I lay there for a few hours and then the neurologist comes and orders me a MRI.  

LONG STORY SHORT:  I get an MRI this week and I have met with a neurologist since then.  I spent a few days in Buc to get it all worked out.  I got a blood tests ad I get the results this week.  

We met a lot of really cool people even though I was dying.  We contacted all of the nice nurses who helped me, we gave comfort to everyone in the hospitals, even sharing verses of scripture with some anxious patients.  

Something good ALWAYS comes out of hard times and I know that day, God used me as an instrument in his hands to help his other children. 

ALSO:  The week is we got several Martisor, little charms and bracelets from our friends and members to celebrate the First day of March, beginning spring!   It was really fun!   

Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord

Photos 1 and 2: Pics of Galati!
Photo 3: Some Martisor
Photo 4: New tights!  And it's getting warm enough to not wear boots!
Photo 6: Stairs on stairs on stairs
Photo 7: Blocs with laundry out to dry
Photo 8: Cool Galati building

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I just heard this murmur, it said "Yes" YES!

We had Zone Conference this week so we headed down to Bucharest.  We had the awesome privilege to hear David Rutely who is a friend of the Ivory's and he is a member of parliament in England! The best quote from him,  "I figured if they are baptizing millions of people in Mexico then why can't I do it here?!" AMEN.  The best part of conference was SEEING MY BABY SORA TREBAS.  We shared a heartfelt hug and an even more heartfelt piggy back ride.  I love her!

We saw a man who was high out of his mind, huffing paint behind the church.  It was a shame because he was a pretty cool looking dude and to be honest, I've never wanted to contact a high person more in my whole life than I did at that moment.  I just wanted to tell him, "the paint will make you feel good for a few minutes but the gospel will make you feel good forever" hahaha but I decided to hold off and just watch the poor creature.  He got up and stumbled around for a bit and reached down for a twig or something.  The twig turned out to be A BOW AND ARROW he had fashioned out of old branches.  He raised the arrow to the sky but stumbled before he could pull the arrow.  A sad, beautiful moment.

I don't have a lot of time today but I just wanted to tell you about a really cool experience. Last week, we had asked Magda, our investigator, to pray to know if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a true prophet who restored Christ's church back on the earth.  She told us she already felt good about it but we asked her to pray for for a direct answer from her Heavenly Father. This week, we met again with Magda and taught her the Plan of Salvation.  At the end of the lesson I had this prompting come to me, "Ask Magda if she prayed".  So I asked her and her face completely lit up.  She smiled and looked at me in the eye and said, "So the night you asked me to pray, I went to bed without an answer.  A few hours later, I was woken up by a noise.  I thought it was my dad in the other room but when I checked on him, he was asleep.  I laid back down and I heard this little voice, it was almost a murmur.  It whispered to me 'Yes' and right then, I knew it was all true".  AHHHHHHHHH  So the spirit flooded the room and we invited Magda, one of our investigators to be baptized.  She said, "Well I'm a little sick right now, can we wait 3 days?"  Hahaha WE LOVE HER.  The gospel has brought so much...happiness into her life.  Her whole demeanor has changed and it's only been a few weeks.  I am excited to see how the gospel will bless her...5...10 years from now.

I really glad that I made the choice to extend my mission.  I feel like the stone just began rolling- and i only have 5 months left.  Wow.  This gospel really makes life better, happier, more incredible. How can this church not be true?  It's just so good.  

Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord,
:) Sora Lee

Photo 1: The 9 (errrrrr 7 of us)
Photo 3: My orange bloc *we live here
Photo 4: Our church building
Photo 5: Danube river looking beautiful as always
Photo 6: Some Romanian for you! Thanks gypsy kids!

Angel Wings

Wow this week was mentally hard but spiritually so fulfilling.  

Like normal weeks could have filled a regular sized cup form Taco bell.  But this week could have filled a Super Big Gulp from your local gas station.  

Ah.  Yes.

We threw a Valentine's Day party for our English students, investigators and members this week.  It was SUCH a success.  Everyone there was having a great time.  We had games all set up (my favorite was pin the lips on the couple but "Heart crusher" was the Romanian favorite), snacksuri ( romanian word for tons of snacks) and quality music (80s love songs).  It was just a great day and we had people asking us about our church.  So that was awesome!  And shout out to Sister Melanie Christensen- you called it from a young age that I would be an event planner!

While on exchange this week with Sora Koth from Iasi this week, we stumbled upon a MEXICAN RESTAURANT.  So naturally, we walked inside of it, totally amazed.  I was looking through the menu when my eyes landed on........CRUNCHWRAP SUPREME.  For all of my kin out there who know my heart....I started crying tears of joy.  I have missed Taco Bell just as much (if not more) than my family (joking-kind of) while I have been on my mission.  So I eat that crunchwrap supreme and it just rocks my whole world.  Everyone except one member bummed us on our exchange but that crunchwrap supreme...made it all worth it.  

While we met with some of our members this week we thought it would be a good idea to have "Family Home Evening" with them, to help build them up and strengthen them.  So we pray, sing a song, have a little spiritual lesson and end with a game and snacks!  So we invited all of the family members to join u, including Sora Marianna Prada's son, who is not a member.  Well I ask Marianna to invite her son, and she is like, "He probably won't come"  but I asked her to try anyways.  So Cristi comes in, the son, and HE IS THE BOY I MET IN THE SUMMER!  I was like, "You probs don't remember me but I met you in the summer" and he just looked at me and he was like "I remember you too".  And we just bonded.  Ah  he is the coolest 11 year old ever.  

So we shared the message with them and then we taught them how to play the card game spoons.  ROMANIANS LOVE SPOONS.  Ah.  So great.  So as I am getting ready to leave, Marianna Prada pulls me aside and she is like, "I talked to some members in Bucharest and they said that you are  great missionary and that you flew in with your angel wings and brought so much happiness into their lives".  I was tearing up, and she just kept going on.  

Not to sound conceited or vain, but I really needed that this week.  It was just a really rough week and I felt so unimportant and worthless.  But knowing that I made a difference somewhere, in someone's life, really gave me a boost.  In this mission, we really don't see the fruit of our efforts until much much later.  So I was glad to be able to learn that I made a little difference.  

Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord,
:) Sora Kendall Lee

PS I am also extending my mission......coming home in August! WHOOP!
PSS Sora Trebas I get to see you dis week at ZONE CONFERENCE.  Love ya boobear

Photo 1: Crunchwrap SUPREME AHAHAHAHHA
Photo 2:  Look whut I found a Honda Accord-those don't exist here
Photo 3: My mission problem/blessing/struggle
Photo 4: musical chairs
Photo 5-6: pin the lips on the lovers
Photo 7: Us and our investigators (creepy guy got cropped out) hahaha

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stealin' Jesus.

Hahahaha I just LOVE Romania and all of the craziness that makes up my mission. 

I have a crazy story, go to the exclamation marks to read more: 

Where do I even start?  Today I only have 5 months left here and it smacked me straight in the face.  Someone threw some more wood in the fire under my butt and now, it is blazing!  I just want to give everything I can to the work!   This week was so busy and Sora Wright and I are so united and we are going to give Galați everything we can!

No more cold.  We get a call on our inter phone one morning and we are like, "Cine?"  and then I heard the most glorious word ever "Gaz"  I screamed into that inter phone and let that poor man inside haha.  We opened the door giggling and just smiling.  He's like, "You must be glad the gas in on!" And I was like |Yes but we are happy all the time too!" Hahaha.  Yes.  So we have heat now...

We have a new investigator this week named Vasilica and we found her through English.  She is about 60 years old and SMILES.  We do 30/30s with her and she loves it.  She plans on visiting her daughter in Dubai, so we are teaching her useful phrases to use in the airport like, "I am lost", "I want a sandwich" and "Where is my seat" Haha.  It is awesome.  She loved the gospel lesson and told us she wants to keep meeting with us!  She even brought her granddaughter with her to the next lesson!

We also had to take a train into Bucharest for Missionary Leadership Conference (MLC) so it was us and our Zone Leaders in a cabin with 2 extra seats.   Well this college girl comes in and sits down next to us and we chatted with her, she new English like a boss.  She also was in love with owls- she had an owl phone case, owls on her nails, owl pencil and an owl folder haha. She was cool and we bonded with her.  Then this other woman comes in, a bit more boisterous who had her own opinions of us but by the time to get to Bucharest and a couple of questions about the Romanian language later, we had made a connection.  I've just learned that it is important to help people see that Mormons aren't weird people....and if I can leave someone with the belief that we are average people with a desire to be close to God, that is the most rewarding thing ever.  

If you are their friend first, a gospel desire will come second.  

While getting on the train to head back to Galați the train conductor is like, "You're Mormons" and our tags had been buried under our scarves.  How had he known?  I asked him.  "Is it because of how we are dressed?".  "No" he said, "It's because of the smiles on your faces.  You glow".  Ahhhhhhh.  SO awesome.  Well, he comes over and sits next to all of us missionaries and just starts asking about the church and what we believe.  He sat by us for the whole 5 hours back home.  We taught him about the Restoration of the gospel then and there and he loved it.  The elders got his number and are trying to set up with him.  

The saddest moment on my mission happened this week on my mission.  While visiting a member one night, we walk into the bloc to hear a child screaming.  It was loud.  We heard a man and woman yelling and the loud whacks and smacks of child abuse.  I burst into tears, I had never heard something so violent in my whole life.  I burst into tears and Sora and  stood outside of their door and offered a silent prayer for the family.  I was so shaken up I said nothing the whole lesson and just cried.  The worst part was, the abuse continued and the screams and yells echoed through the pipes in the member's home.  

As we left, I felt prompted to leave "A Family: A Proclamation to the World" pliant in their door.  We slipped it into their door, and then ding donged ditched them!  We plan on going back another day to check on this family.  


This year the church marks it's 25th Anniversary here in Romania.  All of us missionaries decided to throw a secret party for the branch after the Sunday devotional.  We decorated, baked food and got it all ready.  Members. less active members and investigator friends all showed up and we were so happy.  While watching the satellite broadcast from Bucharest, I was sitting in the back row, near the door the lets out by the stairs to the first level.  I hear the front door fly open, feet scattering and then I hear it slam shut.  I look at the elder next to me and he gets up and runs out, to discover two men running away form the church, carrying the portrait of Jesus Christ in their hands.  Already too far away to chase them, and with a corrupted police system here, we knew that there was nothing we could do.  

When I heard this, I bursted into laughter.  Someone just committed the biggest sin: stealing a picture of Jesus, from a church, on the Sabbath!!!!!! Hahaha I just love Romania.  We are convinced that this picture will show up in an orthodox church somewhere or that the thieves will feel so guilty that they will return the painting and began taking the lessons with us missionaries.  
I had always wondered if people really wanted Jesus in their lives and this heist has proved to me that yes, they sure do.  

Haha.   My life!

Loving the work, Loving the people, and Loving the Lord.  
:) Sora Kendall Lee

Photo 1:  The freak snow that fell.  Guess which tracks are mine? 
Photo 2:  Loving Galați
Photo 3:  "Hey Sora"  My rendition of the "Hey girl" Ryan Gossling meme
Photo 4:  Elders and the awesome cake they made all by themselves!
Photo 5:  Vasilica, Me, Sora Netti, Maria and Anca!
Photo 6:  The whole Galați gang!
Photo 7: I'm a little proud of the decorations.
Photo 8: The stolen Jesus picture
Photo 9: My study mural
Photo 10: The awesome elders: Vârstnicul Soelberg, Vârstnicul McArthur (zone leader),  Vârstnicul Lybbert (zone leader) and Vârstnicul Degraw (district leader)
Photo 11: Gettin the balloon arch ready!
Photo 12: Sora Wright and I walking to a lesson in the SNOW that came over night.