Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Basically a week in Lasi

On the train to Lasi
Well, we really only spent two days in Lasi, but  then we spent a day getting there and then a day coming back. It was a nine and a half hour train right there.  Man, the train was so hot, but it was a good amount of fun. We had our Elders there to keep us company. I will miss fun train adventures in Romania. We took a sleeper train back though and that thing was miserably hot. Sora Roberts and I both did not really sleep at all! That's mission life for you. 
Sora Roberts and me in Lasi

Also Sora Roberts finally went to the doctors this week for this pain she has been having for a  while and it turns out that she has tonsillitis and possibly a dislocated jaw. So we have kinda laid low for the past couple days.... except for our awesome lessons with Lleana! Such a cool story! 

Lleana and her family
So Lleana was first taught by Sora Jerez before I got to Brasov at the beginning of my mission. Once I got here Sora Jerez would tell me all the time how awesome Lleana is so ready to get baptized and all this stuff. Unfortunately, we were never able to meet with her. I come back to Brasov and her boyfriend, who is a less active member, has started coming back to church with her. Carmen (a member here) sets up a lesson for us with her because she wants to get baptized! Our first lesson with her, we teach her the restoration. The spirit is super strong. She says she already knows this church is true and can't wait to get baptized! So - we set a baptismal date with her for September 9th, because her and her boyfriend have to get married first. Sora Roberts and I are hoping she will let us help her plan the wedding :) Her and her daughter are so cute! We love them so much already! 

Other fun things: 
I went on exchanges with Sora Gleason! (I totally forgot to take pictures) 

Loving our mac and cheese!!
Also, Sora Roberts and I finally ate some of the mac and cheese I have! I miss mac and cheese so much! 

The Elders kind of tried to steal our investigator this week, this resulted in Sora Roberts calling them very angrily at 10pm at night and telling them she wasn't happy with them. She put the fear of God into them a little bit. They apologized and we did to, so it's all good now. 

Romanian countryside
I think that's about everything. I love you guys! Hope you all have a great week!
Sora Vann

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back in Brasov!!

NOTE:  I apologize for not posting this one last week!!!  (Kate's mom)

I so don't feel like writing my weekly this week but that's okay....a ton happened this week (as usual). 
Branch in Brasov

I didn't get to Brasov till Wednesaday night (very very late), and I didn't finish unpacking all the way till this morning... 

We had MLC on Wednesday and it was awesome! We are just really working hard to make this mission the best it can be and it's so cool. The Hettingers are really willing to listen to us and what we have to say and our ideas of how to make different things work better. Good changes are coming :) 

Rainbow over Brasov centru
One thing that is really changing is our goals. We used to set our goals a little lower to more what we thought we could reach, but President wants us setting them HIGHER (our past baptism goal for the mission was about 8-10 and now it is 27). He told us that with our big goals, we need to have big faith. So that is what everyone is focusing on right now; having big faith to match our big goals :) I believe we can do it! 

My new companion - Sora Roberts
My new companion is Sora Roberts, who I absolutely adore! She has been one of my friends since we served around each other in my 4th transfer and now we are finally getting to serve with each other! It has already been so much fun! We laugh a lot together and she gives me lots of affection :) 

Sora DJB and Family visiting
Also Sora DJB and her family were here for a day and a half visiting so that was a ton of fun! Her family is so sweet and sassy! A lot of fun to be around :) 

It was super awesome getting to see all the members here again! Most of them recognized me and were super happy that I am back; which made me super happy :)  I got lots of hugs on Sunday. Sora Hettinger came up to me on Tuesday in the office almost in tears, and told me that I have a special work to do here in Brasov and part of it is with the members. I am so excited to see how I can help them and serve them.It's fun being in a place where I already love the members. 
Roasting marshmallows on our new grill

Also, we decided to buy a small grill for our balcony and we roasted marshmallows one night! Super fun! We are going to try cooking some hamburgers later this week! 

Me, Tibi, and Sora Roberts

Tibi, a member from Mihai Bravu, visited Brasov on Sunday, which is funny because he came and visited my first Sunday in Brasov a year ago as well. Also, this was Mihai and Ovidu's last Sunday here. They are finally moving to Germany to be with their dad. They have been "moving" since the last time I was here. It was good to see them one last time. I love those kids so much. 
Me, Mihai, Ovidu, and Sora Roberts

I think that's all my random bits and pieces from this week. I love all of you.  I hope you guys have a great week! 

Sora Vann 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Where Do I Even Begin . . .

I have a lot of randoms thoughts from this week; so here we go...

Some of my most favorite people :) George and Sorina
First off, transfers are this week and I found out that I am going back to Brasov (my first city) for my last transfer. I still can't really believe it. I will miss everyone in Mihai Bravu soooo much. I made a lot of close friends here who I will miss dearly. But I am also excited to see all the members in Brasov again. I also can't believe I am starting my last transfer! It's literally so crazy! 
Can you tell how I love packing?!

My big thing I've thought about this week was about feeling peace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. My mission President had asked me how have I felt peace since being back after my sister died. I thought about it, and though I had felt a lot of peace when I was home for the funeral, as I looked back over the past three weeks I could only remember being sad. This thought really bothered me. After that I read a talk from lds.org  about grieving and one of the things it said was that we need to realize that you can feel sadness and peace at the same time.

The actually quote- "After a faithful member of the Church passes away, the surviving family members commonly report feeling profound peace that they will see that loved one again. At the same time, however, family members usually feel tremendous sadness. It is important for us to understand that one can feel both sadness and peace at the same time." (The Healing Power of Grief -By Steven Eastmond )

This had a big impact on me. I realized that over the past weeks as I feeling that tremendous sadness, there probably was a lot of peace there too that I just didn't realize. Over this past week, I have tried to notice the peace that Christ is continuously offering me, and I was able to see it and feel it more. I realized that just because I was feeling sad didn't mean that I couldn't feel peace at the same time. 

Other random things from this week: 

We had a ton of friends at sacrament meeting this week to say goodbye to Sora Schow and I. Sora Schow played "God be with you till we meet again" on the violin and the spirit was super strong for that; so hopefully they felt that :) 

I got clothes lined while playing red rover (short people problems). Elder Ditto said I would have made Americas funniest home videos if someone had been recording that. After that happened we made a rule that you had to keep your hands down ha-ha 

I hate packing so much! (only one more time after this!) 

Kitty from Mexican Restaurant
Our Group at the Mexican Restaurant
We went to a Mexican restaurant that actually tasted like Mexican food! (well, pretty close). It even looked super Mexican and they even had a cat, so I was pretty much in Heaven!  

One night as we were walking home, I saw this huge pile of watermelon this guy was selling (classic Romania) and I decided I wanted a picture. So I made Sora Schow go stand by all the watermelon and then the guy runs over and jumps in the picture with her, it was pretty fun. We talked with him and he was a really nice guy and he ended up giving us a free melon. I love Romanians. 

Watermelon Guy

   I think that is all for this week.  Have a great week.  I love you all so much!
Sora Vann

Monday, July 24, 2017

Inspired Pizza

Selfie with Sora Schow
So -  my fun story of the week starts with contacting in the park with George. We had been trying to talk to people for about an hour without much success and George had to leave for work. As we were walking, he hit his head against the Book of Mormon he was holding.  We asked him what was wrong, and he said something along the lines of -  we didn't find anyone that was interested. We told him that we simply just need to show our faith by going contacting. That's what matters; not whether or not we find someone who is interested. If we show our faith by contacting, even when it's hard, God will bless us. Sometimes, that comes through finding someone that's
Titan Park 
interested or sometimes that comes through someone who is prepared just walking into the church wanting to know more. He said okay, I get it. THEN later that day, Sora Schow and I decided to order pizza to the church before English and when we went out to meet the pizza guy he said, "Can I ask you a question? What do you believe in your church?"- SO COOL. So it turns out, that this guy used to come to church and had met with the missionaries when he was young but lost interest.  Now he wants to learn more! He even has a Book of Mormon. We told George about it and he thought it was pretty good too. 

The Beloved DJB
Besides that we....
almost missed our train...twice 
had exchanges with Sora DJB (the beloved) and Sora Lee. I got to go with Sora DJB! I was quite happy. 
Ate very very yummy curry made by a member named Canut who is from India and he is very awesome as well 
got insulted by a less active member (woo-hoo) 
and Sora Schow was part of a concert last night and rocked it! (she played the Violin)

The elders snuggling on the metro on the way home from the concert

Sorry for the short email this week. I love you guys. Have a good week. 
Love Sora Vann 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did I mention that George is awesome . . . ?

Me and Sora Schow at the village Museum
So this week was pretty crazy and I don't have a lot of time so I will have to make this quick.

We got an awesome new investigator this week! Her name is Allex (yes two Ls). Her friend invited her to English class and she asked if she could do 30/30s with us. The first time we met with her, we told her about the Book of Mormon and she loved all of it and said she could feel the spirit very strongly (apparently to her it feels like she is hungry - haha). Second time we met with her, we told her the whole Restoration lesson and she loved all of that as well! She thought everything just made sense and she told us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true already! She is 17 and super cute. She wasn't able to make it to church but we can't wait to meet with her this week! 

Sora Schow, Me and George
We also had a lesson with George (our recent convert) this week and instead of us teaching him, we had him teach us! He is preparing to go on a mission himself so we thought it would be good practice for him. He did a good job and it was cute because he was nervous even though it was just us and he really had nothing to be nervous about. We are going to help him work on his teaching skills and learning how to understand and teach the gospel better. He is a very eager learner :) George also went contacting with us this week. He goes contacting with the missionaries in Bucuresti all the time, it's so awesome. 

Tuesday night after English, we had dinner with our friend/investigator Lidia at this Greek place. She ended up ordering a lot of food for us and it was so good and we didn't want it to go to waste, so we ended up being completely stuffed. I was thinking Sora Schow might have to roll me on to the metro to get home because of how stuffed I felt but I was able to make it okay. haha. 

Village Museum
Today we went to the village Museum with George and it was so cool! (see all the pictures!). So they have all these little mini traditional houses they have built from all other the different regions of Romania. I have really only been in the Transylvania region so it was cool to see houses from the Moldova region (it's the eastern part of Romania not actually the country of Moldova). 

Sheep at the Museum
Anyway, I think that's about it. I'm doing okay, thanks for all the prayers for me and my family. I love all of you. Have a great week! 
Love Sora Vann 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How Does One Missionary . . .

This week has been interesting trying to figure out how to be a missionary yet still deal with all the emotions, all the "feelings". I'm working on it, along with getting over jet lag.  

Me, Sora Schow and Lidia
We realized that our two most promising investigators were not progressing at all and in fact ,were very stuck and so we realized that we can't really teach them anymore, so that kinda sucked, but that's okay. One of them, Lidia, is a very sweet girl who just thinks of things in very abstract ways and she thinks all churches are good. We met with her Tuesday and tried to have a lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we couldn't even get past faith; so that wasn't good but we had a 'taco party' with her after our fail of a lesson. haha. 

Cute little (full of fleas) Kitten
Wednesday night we had a fun crazy adventure of deciding to pick up a stray kitten off the side of the road and then having to figure out what to do with it. It turned out that this poor little thing had a TON of fleas all over it! We ended up being able to take it to the vet with the help of George, our recent convert, and getting it some flea shampoo. We were also able to find it a home and a new loving owner before the end of the night; so go us! Even if it was a really stupid decision in the first place. 

Thursday, we had our first zone conference with our new mission President, President Hettinger,  and it was awesome but very different from zone conferences with President Ivory. It will be exciting to see how the mission changes in the way it needs to for this time. 

A cool thing happened this week when we went less active finding (where we take a list of members that don't really come anymore and try to go visit them). One of the couples we tried visiting actually let us in and we talked with them for about an hour. It turned out that that day was the day they had gotten baptized many years ago. They shared pictures with us and their stories of how they came to know the church was true. It was super cool, and the wife came this Sunday! (The husband has health problems). 

I think that's about everything or at least I'm out of time. I love you guys. Have a great week. 
Love Sora Vann

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Old One

Heidi and Michelle
One of my nicknames for Michelle was "the old one" because one time I meant to say that she was the older one, but accidentally said the old one and then it just kinda stuck. 

This week I was home to say goodbye to my sister. I think most of you know, but my sister, Michelle, passed away. 

Sunday morning here, and Saturday night, there, my mom called to tell me that Michelle had a brain bleed. She was brain dead but still hooked up to life support. I was able to fly home the next day and get to see her and say goodbye before they took her off life support. She was able to donate her kidneys and her heart valves. 

Sisters saying Good-bye
Tuesday morning, I was able to go to the temple with my parents, and I am so grateful for that. I felt a lot of peace being there with my parents. I am so grateful for temples and the peace that we can find there. 

Thursday was the viewing and Friday was the funeral. She didn't look much like herself, but people never really do. A lot of people came to both the viewing and the funeral; which was nice to see how many people love and care about Michelle. They had time at the funeral for people to get up and say things they wanted to share about Michelle. All three of her kids got up and talked about what an amazing mommy she is. I might not have Michelle anymore but I am so lucky to have her three little wonderful kids, along with Abe (who is wonderful too). 

A lot of people from Michelle's ward reached out to help in the form of food, so we had wayyyy more food than we could eat and so did Abe. It was very sweet of people. 
Abe and Michelle

Michelle and her Children (Ace, Cash and Heidi)
I flew back out to Romania Saturday night, and am still planning on finishing my mission. I know that's what Michelle would have wanted and I know the Lord will help me, and strengthen me to be able to do it. 

Michelle in college

I am so grateful for Michelle. She is such an amazing example to me in everything she did. She is the most amazing mom, sister, wife, and daughter. I cannot wait until I get to see her sweet smile again and give her a big hug. I am so grateful that I get to be her sister, and that I am part of her life and she is part of mine.

Michelle's casket
I am so grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation. As hard as it not having her here, I know that I will see her again. I also know that even if I can't see her or touch her, I know that she is still there for me. I know she has a work to do right now on the other side. I know that I will be with her for forever after this life, and I am so grateful for that. She will be my "old one" for forever. 

I love you guys. Hope you have a good week. 
Love Sora Vann