Monday, June 29, 2015

When people look at you who do they see?

Hey everyone!!!!!!  This week went by so freaking fast it is insane.  Seriously, I don't even understand how time speeds up on a mission... I really don't.  

This week we were super busy asalways and this week we will be even busier because it is Sora Barrera's last full week!  It is so weird....I do not want her to go!  Saturday is Transfer boards and I will find out who my knew companion will be for my last mini transfer....#13...the extension.   I am freaking out.  Dar, totul va fie bine :)   

Some of the hightlights this week were making Bors Rosu with our favorite Russian members.  I seriously love them so much and they are teaching us Russian phrases to use in our lessons with Dima and Maria, whose native language is Russian.  It is great!  I love Bors Rosu and I will probably make it once a week when I get home from my mission.   

We taught Maria and Dima this week about the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ and how through the prophet Jospeh Smith, all of the origianl doctrines or teaching of Jeus Christ were made whole and corrected, after years of being misinterpreted and forgotten.  We taught them in English but got to say several key phrases in Russian that really invited the spirit into the lesson.  It was incredible.   We also really love heir dog Charlie- she is so cute.   

But yeah, all is well, I am happy and healthy (no more worms!) and looking forward to these last few weeks.  

We attended the Russian sacrament meeting on Sunday because we had an investigator there with and we got the little translator earpiece things (which are so handy) in order to understand the speakers.  Now one of the translator ladies isn't fluent in English so sometimes her words are a little off, close but not the right word.   She was translating this scripture: 

Alma 5:14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

She was so cute because she changed the word "countenance' to "face"  So she said, "Have you received his image on your faces". And I just loved that so much- I mean seriously, when people see our faces, will we remind them of the Savior?  Just kind of a cool thought for this week.   

Loving the work, loving the People and Loving the Lord,
:) Sora Lee

And the pictures . . . .  

 A Bors Rosu feast

My favorite Russian family

 I LOVE THESE PEOPLE - maria and dima!!!!

I love my colega!!!!

One of my favorite street paintings In Chisinau

Monday, June 22, 2015

Light Attracts Light

Well, 6 weeks left and I am running out of things to say haha.  Things are going great but it is all just so normal for me now....It is hard to give you the latest news!  But I will try my best!
We did a lot of contacting for Meet the Mormons and we had some really cool conversations with people!   We left people with the idea that we Mormons are actually super normal people!  So score!
All of our investigators have gone out to the countryside (La Țara) for the summer (boo) so we have some finding to do! 
Round 2 of Meet the Mormons went a lot better (this time it was in English with Russian subtitles) and we think more people came because it was an English film.  SO yay! 
But probably the highlight of this week was our lesson with Maria and Dima, a Russian couple who live in the apartment above the Pinder Family, one of our senior couples here- oh they also speak PERFECT English.   They are the coolest people ever. They definitely do not act or carry themselves like Eastern Europeans.  They are just SO HAPPY and they stand out. They have this joy, this light that just radiates from them.  I sound like a nut case but they really do.  Dima was telling us, "I said good day to this man once and asked him how he was doing and everyone and the trolleybus looked at me like I was crazy".  DIMA WE FEEL YOU WE UNDERSTAND.  The Pinder Family went on to tell them that they have this light in their eyes.  
I shared the scripture from Mathew that says, "Ye are the light of the world....." and then we watched a 2 minute video called "Datorita Lui" or "Because of Him" (link attached below).
They felt it.  Maria cried and Dima just had this pure smile.   We invited them to take the lessons to learn more about how they can have a fresh view of themselves, of God and of the world.  They said that they were excited to learn more.  I LOVE THEM and this couple has the potential to change the church here in Moldova.  I feel like these people are the reason why I needed to extend. I feel like they have been my lifelong friends. 
Lightness and darkness cannot exist at the same place, at the same time.  Light chases away darkness, and even a small light can make a difference in a dark place.  That is one thing that I have learned on my mission.  Not one good thing ever goes unnoticed.  A small light makes a big difference, even in the darkest place. 
I love my Eastern European mission and no matter where you are in the world, people are drawn to light- to goodness, to happiness, and I know that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring that into our lives. 
Loving the work, Loving the people and Loving the Lord,
:) Sora Lee

P.S. Sorry I am dumb and only took 3 pictures this week.

This is Ștefan Cel Mare și Sfînt (Stephen the great and holy) and it says, "Moldovans, so Romanians" . . .  it makes more sense in Romanian hahaha

 Polina and her mom Natasha- the coolest Russian members.  Polina climbed a cherry tree for me and ripped off one of the branches so I could eat the cherries!  Haaha.  I LOVE THEM!  We are also learning how to bear our testimonies in Russian so we can tell them!

                                       I LOVE MARTY and he lives right near our house! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Everything Is Not What It Seems

Wow this week was nuts.  We were so busy preparing for Meet the Mormons Chisinau Premier and also for our presentation at Zone Conference (Sora Barrera and I had the pleasure of speaking to the other missionaries about the importance of consistency-yay!).  To put it simply, it was a very busy and all over the place week.  I also started my visa paperwork and that took a lot of effort to say the least.  We were eagerly waiting the night of the premier, anxious to soo how many people would show up.  Sadly, only about 100 people showed up and in a theater that sat 350 wasn't much.   Even sadder, there were only about 10 members there.  The film began to crash 5 minutes in, weird subtitles kept popping up, children were screaming and running around the theater.  People left and I felt like we had failed big time.  I sat through the whole movie, unable to enjoy it.  I just kept thinking, "how can anyone feel the spirit through all of this freaking noise?".  I felt so upset.
The movie ended and we headed outside to greet the movie goers as they left.  5 of our potential investigators emerged from the theater and I was dreading their reactions.  But to my surprise, they were all smiling, BEAMING and they had tears streaming down their faces.  
One of them came up to me and said, "I feel so good inside, happy...I cannot even describe it.  I want to share how I feel right now with everyone else.  Can I bring my friends to the next showing?  Would that be ok?"
I was so happy.   We had gotten so worried about the number count we had forgotten what really counted, what really mattered.  We may not have gotten new investigators from the film but we were able to leave our friends with a strong impression.  They HAD felt the SPIRIT and their hearts had been changed. 
They left and Sora Barrera and I just sat and hugged each other for about 5 minutes straight.  Our theme for the night?  Everything is not how is seems.

I know that God works in his own time and in his own ways.  Those ways may seem weird to us, even frustrating and annoying but he just knows what is best for us.  He will make sure that things, when done with the right mindset and heart, will ALWAYS work out for our own benefit.  He loves us.  He truly loves his children. 
Again, I am so grateful for my mission.  It has helped me learn so many important lessons.  If anyone is considering goiing on a mission, DO IT.   Prepare yourself, pray and go for it.  It will be the best decision of your life. I promise you. 
LOVING the work, LOVING the people and LOVING the Lord,
:) Sora Lee
             WE FOUND A GIANT BENCH!  And look how grossly white I am on the lower part of my body....Uneven tanlines are the WORST!

                                                What I wear to clean the mold off our ceiling

 Finding this Walmart bag in the crannies of our kitchen cabinets reminded me about this place (I had completely forgotten about Walmart)

   So we discovered that our drapes (if placed correctly) make us look like arabic princesses?

               The spy paperwork begins (ie Moldovan visa paperwork- oh and NO smiling allowed)

Picking Strawberries and Building Friendships

This week was such a cool week.  We have some very promising "VIP" investigator friends that we got to bond with this week so that was so great.    The first one is Cristina and she is a lawyer here in Chisinau.  We met her in the visa office and became best friends.   We set up to meet with her and she's like, "Oh girls, I have to go out to my town house to pay the workers for installing the windows.  Hop in my car and we can go there really fast and and then grab dinner after".  WHAT.  Okay yeah...she is awesome.  So we are sitting in her super nice car and she gave us a tour of her countryside town house.  It's like the Moldovan version of the house from 'The Notebook".  It's right next to this beautiful lake and it is so peaceful.  After words, she took us back to her family's home, MANSION and we sat on her back porch and ate the most delicious cherries in the world and talked to her brother, her mother and her cousin about who we are and why we are here.  

Then, she's like, "Let's go pick strawberries in my mom's garden"  So we head through the back gates and it opens up to this huge field filled with strawberries and other types of fruits and veggies.  The strawberries were so small but SO DELICIOUS.  Even the ones that were half white tasted better than the ones we have in America!!!!  It was so great.   She is going to New York/Washington DC for the next 3 weeks on vacation so we won't be able to see her.  Sora Barrera's parents are going to take her on a tour of the DC temple grounds though!   It will be so great and we are excited to hear about that experience!

We have been preparing for the Meet the Mormons movie premiere this Friday and we have had soooo much success so we are hoping we get a pretty good turn out at the theater that night.  

Also, we visited Olia, a young mother here in Chisinau who called us and asked us if we could come help her.  She has this horrible infection in her foot from a bug bite- she lives in the barely constructed humble home I mentioned a couple emails ago.  Her foot is swollen and has a dark purple color.  She drags her foot around because she cannot move it.  We helped her prepare dinner for her family because she couldn't walk around comfortably.  We just helped her cook and clean her home and she was so grateful and you could just see the relief on her face.  We didn't have a big spiritual message prepared or anything but we got to help her and pray with her and it was enough.   "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" -Mosiah 2:17

On Thursday, went down to Bucharest this week for MLC conference and the biggest theme I took away was the importance of being humble and allowing yourself to change for the better.  President told us we could determine the success of our missions by how much we have allowed ourselves to change and that made me so happy because I have felt myself change so much.  He also advised us to "control the things we can control"  and to move forward through the hard times.   

I also shared my Birthday cake Oreos with some of my friends there and they LOVED IT!

I love my mission.  Seriously, so grateful that I came on a mission.  It continues to change me and change is so good. 

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

                                                     Most delicious cherries of my life

                                                              More belated birthday fun!

                                                             Dinner with the soras!!!!!

                                                           I LOVE SORA BARRERA!!!!

                                                                   And the party is OVER

Monday, June 1, 2015

You Can't Spell "Struggle Bus" Without "US"

Hey hey hey everyone!

This week was a great week and thank you too everyone for the birthday emails I got!  Wooo!  21! I had a real great mission birthday.  We actually had a "birthday week" because Sora Barrera had her birthday on May 28th so we celebrated together!!!!  It was fun!  I love her so much and I am so glad that I get to serve with her this transfer! 

So my birthday started out with a surprise cheesecake breakfast from the sisters! They showed up at our apartment before church and we had a cheesecake breakfast together.   We all headed to church and I had to teach Relief Society that day- which was fun because only the younger ladies were at church that day!  It was like young womens/singles ward haha and they all sang me happy birthday and we bear hugged- I was soooo happy.  Ward members bought me little bouquets of flowers and Polina, a little Russian member girl (we are tight) brought me balloons in my favorite colors!   She is incredible.  We headed home and finished studies and weekly planned so It was actually a very relaxed day which doesn't really happen!  

So one of our investigators, Ecaterina's sister, whose name is too Russian for me to spell, we have decided to begin teaching with the Russian elders because Russian is her native language.  So Elder Findlay begins leading the Restoration lesson and we are all just sitting there- picking out a few key Russian words we know.   We see her face change and she became so peaceful.   We felt this incredible, comforting feeling fill the room, almost out of nowhere.  All of us Romania missionaries looked at each other.  The we realized that Elder Findlay was saying the first vision, and it had brought the spirit so strongly.   For those of you who don't know what the first vision is, it is Joseph Smith's account of  what he experienced after he prayed and asked God which church he should join. ( If you want to read more about Jospeh Smith and his experience you can look here: ).  
Even though I do not speak Russia or understand Russian I was able to see the Holy Ghost bear witness of the truthfulness of this message.   It was so incredible and it was an experience that I can never forget.  

So Natalia, one of our coolest investigators works as a talk show host on a local tv station and we had dinner/lesson with her and her friend with one of our senior couple this week.   She had to hurry out in order to make it to work but she told us we could watch her on tv!  So about 20 minutes later, we turned on the channel and there she was!   She is helping the church get good media coverage here in Moldova and she is helping us promote....

Yup!   So meet the Mormons, the church's documentary that hit theaters not too long ago got translated and dubbed over in only 4 languages Spanish, French, German and ROMANIAN and we are going to have a huge premier here this upcoming week!   We are so excited and very blessed and honored that we have something so cool in our mission language.   It is going to be big and we are eagerly awaiting to see how it all works out!

Zina will be going to work in England for the summer and the girls will be living about 5 hours way from Chisinau with their grandparents while their mom is gone.  It was very hard to say goodbye to them but we look forward to our awesome Skype lessons!

We were on the maxi taxi or marshooka and we here this little boy maybe four years old going off in Russian and then he started singing "a, b, c, d....." IN ENGLISH.  We both died with happiness!   It was so cute.   

I saw this stray dog and I wanted to help it out and give it some food when out of no where, this young teenage boy comes out of the store with this huge, I mean huge can of dog food.   He pulls out a pocket knife, and cuts open the can and dumps all of the food into his shopping back, folds it up like a plate and sets it down beside the stray dog.   My heart melted.   And my hope in humanity was restored.

So hey, I'm Sora Lee and I can't cut a break with weird health things on my mission so this week we found out that we have HEAD LICE!  Super fun.  It's so great I cannot even begin to tell you how truly fortunate we are! (Read with sarcasm).  My tongue also turned black from a weird reaction to some medicine I took.  I guess it's a pretty normal thing because on the back side it says under symptoms that a "rare but harmless blackening of the tongue may occur after consuming this medicine".  That gave me quite the scare.  BUT HEY I'M GOOD!

I just am obsessed with my mission and I am so happy that I have the chance to be here in these 2 countries.   I have this deep, inner happiness inside me and it is so weird but I am just so grateful for everything I've learned and done and look forward to making these last 9 weeks insane. 

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

I love Miss Polina!   She brought me balloons for my birthday- in my favorite colors!

Thank you Sora Koth and Sora Uhl for this awesome cheesecake and macaroon breakfast!

Birthday present to myself- yay!  Allergies!

Happy Birthday Sora Barrera!  (Look at her getting all those bday phone calls)

Hugging my favorite family goodbye!

We love you!!!!!!

Our investigator is a TV star

Where you can find me after a long day

Our faces when we discovered we had lice.  Yup, we were even on the phone with Sora Ivory when we took this epic pic. 

And hey look!  My tongue turned black.   A normal medicine side affect!