Monday, February 25, 2013

ROBBED!! But still alive

Well, ROUGH week! Holy cow! So I will start by saying everything was going great! We get home Wednesday afternoon and Sister Arnold Put her keys down on the couch, we prayed then made lunch and did laundry! When we went to go out again at 5 we couldn't find the keys to the house, we thought she had just misplaced them so we grabbed the spare and went out to teach! We got home around 8 and when we went to go in the apartment both of us felt so sick and really nervous, we couldn't get inside, someone locked out apartment from the inside, so we book it out of there-- calledl the Elderly couple that is over us and we were freaking out,  they came and we broke the chain that was locking us out and YES we were ROBBED!!:( They took everything! Not clothes or anything, but ALL my shoes, all the extra makeup i took, all my hairspray, gel, ALL the medicine, toothbrushes, paste all that I brought with me! Really all I have left is clothes! I need to go buy a new camera charger chord. But earlier that morning the office elders text me saying that they needed my passport So i took that out my passport holder and it has all my money and everything in it, but I had  feeling not to just put it back into my suitcase so I had my ipod and speakers and my Passport holder with all my money and put it under my blanket and they didn't find it! So that was a blessing! But it has been pretty scary, Like we moved out that night because someone has the other set of keys! We are living with the sisters in Magsunay! We are moving to an apartment closer to the mission home that is guarded by security! We are going to the store to replace alot of the stuff that was taken! Sister Arnold has no shoes either and they stole her wallet but dropped it on the way out! They stole my backpack, that is how we think everything was carried out! The ward is all concerned with us! They were a little embarrassed that it happened my first 5 days, Welcome to the Philippines! I am trying to keep my head up! But it is still taking time to adjust! I stay as positive and happy as I can be! My birthday was good! We went and met up with some other elders for lunch, then shopped around for a little bit, alot of cute clothes that are cheap! Don't worry I am living like a missionary! I might need to splurge for new running shoes seeing that someone else needed mine more than I did! But as far as the teaching part, we are really focused on the Inactives! We have about 5 investigators and they are slowly progressing! Everyone says they will come to church, but I was disappointed yesterday because they didn't come! One couple doesn't want to get married because it is really expensive, a little 10 year old boy is so so interested and he comes to church all the time we are just waiting for his dad to get worthy so that he can baptize him! But I try to speak, the ward missionaries are pretty good at helping me learn new words and knowing when to use them! One of the ward missionaries served in Cebu with Gregs friend Dallin Hanson! Such a small world! Other than our little incident, I like it here! Just adjusting still! I think that will just take time! All the members are so nice and Church was better! I understood a little more! Played the piano again, their normal songs are different than the ones that we sing so i slaughter my way through most of them! I will get better I am sure! I did a piano musical number of I know that my Redeemer Lives! Ha I need more music to play when they ask me on the spot! We have been encouraging the ward members to come with us when we teach so that people know they have a friend at church! It has worked so far! I really just bear my testimony and pray when we teach, haha but everyday gets a little better!  Sister Arnold is awesome! She has a really good idea of what people need to hear and it helps so much that the spirit is with us! It has been super muggy, raining alot! The picture of me standing in the rain wasn't even when it was the worst, it was like mid-calf for a long time of walking! Super pretty though! The way people live just amazes me! Little tin roofs and some barely have electricity! The main thing people struggle with here is faith! They all have so little so it is hard for them to go to church but if they just had faith and obeyed the commandments then they would know that the Lord will provide a way for them! This gospel is true! It would be so horrible to not know about it! We were sitting on a Jeepney all crowed with people and this white guy like squeezes in next to me, so i just started talking to him! He was from Germany, so I bore my testimony and gave him a Restoration Pamphlet! Hopefully he reads it and wants to learn more! He just moved here and was starting to work here I guess! Washing clothes by hand really isnt that bad, it just takes them forever to dry so I want to do it a little bit everyday so that I always have something to wear! But all is well! We are headed to the store for some toiletries, both of us were a little ticked that we now have nothing but maybe it was the Lords way of humbling me, even tho I feel that if I was humbled more I would be kissing the ground! haha So this week was fast and slow at the same time, I cant believe that it was P-Day again! I have almost been here for 2 weeks! Weird! Oh ya, one of our newest converts, he is an older guy but he always go to Central Market and buys us things, and when he found out we were robbed he was so mad, but at church yesterday he brought sister Arnold 2 shirts and me a sweatshirt, still wet from him washing it haha but it really does show that the people have nothing but will give you everything that they have! , Abby sounds great! I am glad she is liking it! Tate, ALMOST!!! AHHH! just be good and be obedient!~ Sam and Maddy I am anxious to hear how the elections went! I love you all! I miss you a lot this week! Tell everyone I say hi! Keep the letter coming! I love hearing from everyone! I will take more pictures of the area and send them next week! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!! Be good and be safe!! Keep Praying for me!!! haha I feel like I need it a little more this week! Cant wait to hear from you! 

Love Sarah

my buddy--Kaden Robison

My trainer--Sister Arnold

my bathroom

Going to my 1st area

My new pad

you guessed it!!Washing my clothes

Typical rain storm

Beautiful Bucharest!!!

Draga Familia Mea! 
The mission is great! So I was super excited to get transferred and I had a right to be... I LOVE IT! After I found out I was leaving constanta the next couple of days we just went around saying goodbye to everyone... They were all sad! A girl in the ward started crying as I was leaving! I went to the family that I was teaching piano and they had already memorized the songs that I had given them! I felt bad I was leaving! I told my trainer to find books to keep helping them but we will see how it goes! I went and said good bye to the librarian and I gave her a flower... then she pulled out a box of cholocolates that she had for me! I was sad to be leaving her! And we met with our German Girl again and we gave her the Book of Mormon in German and then I bore my testimony to her-- I will keep praying for her! And then another girl who is the sister of the recent convert also agreed to have a lesson with us- so I gave her a Book of Mormon to read and then I bore my testimony to her..i started in Romanian but then they know a lot of English so I switched over and I was like almost in tears telling her how much this gospel has changed my life! She grabbed my hand and I think that she felt really touched by my testimony so we will see! Well that was it for constanta.. I got all packed up and we headed to the big city. We had our big mission conference with an Elder Richards- It was fun because everyone was there! We had a little healthy eating thing before the big meeting with Sora Hill and she had me stand up in front of everyone and introduce myself as the person who was going to help everyone get healthy ha so to answer your question mom... yes it looks like I will be helping the whole mission. I am thinking about making some inserts that go into the planners to remind people to eat their daily fruits and veggies.. we are going to be taking small steps! ha so we will see how that goes. But after that meeting we had this FOUR hour long meeting and it was ok.. not super inspiring.. he was just reminding us that we need to be obedient... and more obedient... haha so it was a long day... then after that we had a sisters meeting with the wife of the 70 and she was nice but it really made me appreciate Sora Hill! Sora Hill is so nice and she truly cares about each one of us! I was also able to talk to Brandon Cox after the conference and we took some pictures! He wants to come visit you guys and bring you some souvenir from me so hopefully he does that! But He is doing great and I think he was pretty sad to leave! It was also super fun to see Sora Kelly and Sora Gerhartz from the MTC! We could not believe that we had been in the country for 6 weeks already! so crazy! After the conference I found out that I was actually going to be four of us for a week in our apartment because the transfers are messed up two of the girls we just needing to wait another week for their flights... So my companion Sora Lund... has actually been serving with her COUSIN Sora Savage for the past 2 transfers and now she is going home.. how cool is that.. they get called to the same mission and they were able to serve together! And then Sora Hoskings came and stayed with us also... It has been so much fun! Sora Hoskings is my twin!! I love all of these girls! They are so so nice! Sora Lund is amazing.. so geniunely nice and she is excited about missionary work! She loved contacting and block knocking! So we are going to have a lot of fun together! I hope that it is longer then only the 3 weeks that we have left this transfer! Weird that I could be getting transferred in another 23 days... ha I still unpacked half of my suitcases though... I wanted to show some faith that I will be staying here! I the city is huge! I will send you a picture of the view from our apartment.. it is just apartments as far as the eye can see.. which is a little different then the view of the Black sea that I had my last transfer ha but it will be great! I am taking buses everywhere and I have to learn the subway system.. it will be quite the adventure for Sora Lund and I. But we will have fun while we are doing it which I am so excited! This is why people have fun on their missions! I went contacting with Sora Hoskings on Saturday and it was so much fun.. talking to people... getting numbers bearing testimony! ah I loved it! the adrenaline is amazing.. you never know what people are going to say next! We went up to this old couple and we were talking to them.. they were like "we know about your church" so we asked them what they knew and they were like... "You are the people that never go outside and don't use electricity. I guess you guys are starting to come out of the house now?" So funny so we had to spend the next 10 minutes explaining that we were not amish! ha We just went around and we had it all planned out the questions that we were going to ask and what we were going to bear testimony about! It was super fun because after every person she would give me a high five and be like that was so awesome! We really didn't find that many people that were interested but it was fun! I feel like I was fulfilling my purpose as a missionary! So that was great and I Really like contacting! The next day was Sunday- and it was cool because they actually have a chapel to meet in with like 50 something members! I know you are wondering so yes... I did play the piano for the ward! They loved it and I played for relief society also! We then had dinner and this lady's house named Sora Gorzo! I guess for like 10 years she thinks of herself as the mission mom and cooks for the missionaries in the ward every Sunday! It is this big 3 course meal! soup and bread and meat and rice and some sort of brownies! So that was fun! She is very sweet! When she kisses us though she sometimes misses our cheeks and kisses us right on the lips!! ha o well... it Romania.. when in Romania do as the Romanians do! After that we were on the Subway and it was really cool because all four of us were there and we were speaking in English and this guy keep looking at us intently.. so Sora Hoskings asked him if he spoke English. He said yes and then we were just chatting... He saw that we had a Book of Mormon on our laps and he was like "Is that the Bible?" perfect question... ha we all jumped in on it and we were like.. no but it is the Book of Mormon! He started looking through it and we told him about and to read it and then to call us! It was so cool because it was just so random! We will probably never know what will happen with that man but I think something great! there are no coincidences in the mission! I was thinking about that a lot this past week because sometimes you just feel like... "ah no one wants to listen -- am I doing any good here in this country?" The thing is though is that even if I don't get any baptisms while I am here I am going to continue to work my hardest! because no effort is wasted! Heavenly Fathers hand is in this work! It is so amazing... missionaries are working hard and contacting like crazy and doing everything they can and the BAM- a golden investigator will just walk into the church. That hasn't happened to me yet but it happened to the other set of missionaries! So cool! It is not the missionaries that are converting we are just here! That is why Heavenly Father sends us so young is because we are willing to be here and realize that we cant do anything with out Him and then and only then is he able to bring about His great miracles. I think that it is amazing! I was reading in Mosiah this morning and Abinidi gave his life to prophesy to King Noah and he did not see any fruits of his labors before he was killed but one person heard his words and took them to heart... Alma!! Then all these people were baptized!!! So so cool! You really just don't know.. you never know the impact that you are having on the world! It is so comforting to know that! I know that this gospel is true and that I am here for a reason! I know that as missionaries we get way more out of these missions then we could possibly give... Heavenly Father is so amazing! We go on missions to bless Heavenly Fathers children around the world but we also go on missions so that we come back and are good  visiting teaching and relief society and member referrals!! I love it! I am so excited for this opportunity that I have to really find out who Abby Polatis is... Romania is the perfect place to do it! The people here are great! So I am really excited for these next for sure couple weeks with Sora Lund! It will be great! 

pss- Thanks for being the best family ever!! I love hearing from you all!!! Keep it coming and the dear elders! It is fun to get mail:) 
va iubesc!! foarte foarte mult!!! 
Sora Abby Polatis

District jumping in Constanta

Casino in Constanta

Black Sea

Casino on the Black Sea

Constanta in my hands

My favorite Librarian

Orthodox Church in Constanta

My Friend, Brandon Cox from Rigby

The Cooks--they knew my Grandparents

Sora Lund, Sora Savage--Bought me a welcome  present

Bucharest from my window


my comp and roomates

Sitting on a boat

Monday, February 18, 2013

1st week in the Philippines 

Well hello my pamilya!! So you were all wrong if you thought I had a Filipino Companion haha!! She is American!!! Sister Arnold!! She is from Las Vegas! 22 and super legit! She has been here for a year and such a hard worker! It is nice because she gets where I am coming from! We talk a lot and we try our best to communicate with the Hiligaynon! Well, culture shock, UM YES!!! Holy cow!! I will send you pictures hopefully they come thru! We are right in Bacolod City! 5th ward is our area and we have so much work to do! President is keeping the Sisters close because I guess in the farther areas men were following the sisters home and it makes him nervous so we will always be in the city I think! But it is huge so it could be like 2 hours away but still city! The first night we slept in the mission home, super nice! Air con and everything haha The next day we did orientation and met our companions! There was 26 new missionaries 7 of us were American, the rest were Philipino!  We didn't work that day, President wanted us to go shopping and make sure we had everything we needed until we had our P-day! So we went to Central Market, oh my nuts!!! Driving here is INSANE!! They just honk and never yield to pedestrians! They use Jeepneys, there is like a billion people in on, its like a taxi almost, anyways little kids just running everywhere in the roads and hanging off the back of motorcycles! CRAZY!!! So much honking! haha anyways, Things are cheap! I got me so crocs, CUTE ones! HA to go out in! My feet were getting wet and sweaty so these are perfect and they were cheap! We went to the meat market and YUCK!!! Ha just hanging everywhere! I was a little grossed out but Hey, this is philipino culture! There is normal mall called Robinsons and that is a nice grocery store, we will go there later to get the rest of our food! We just bought veggies and meat from the market because it is cheaper! Dogs everywhere, but heck no I dont touch them! They look gross! The City is so big!  So Bacolod 5th ward! reminds me a little of the Roberts 2nd ward! It is supposed to be huge but there are so many inactive people and no one willing to help the missionaries with activation! The bishop is pretty frustrated but we will do our best to get people to church! We got a couple referrals last week but the ones that stuck out to me were 2 16yr old boys (who look 12) and we taught them about the Book of Mormon and at the end Sister Arnold nudged me and was like commit them to baptism! I DID IT! It was in hiligaynon! They said yes and that we could come teach them more! They however didnt show up to church on Sunday so it was kind of a bummer! We teach so many people! So I cant really explain it, but the houses are structured super weird! Like they are all bunched together with a little tiny piece of concrete as a sidewalk, houses, well not even shacks!! People don't really have houses like we do! But it is pretty dirty, smelly and people home like all day everyday! Gataslao St. 14th St. that is like our address and the area surrounding is ours! We are like right by the ocean! Sorry if I am scattered, it has been a tad overwhelming ha! Well we bucket shower! We have a shower head but no shower curtain and it is all rusty and nasty so I stick my head under the little spicket to was my hair and use the bucket and my lufa to wash the rest of me! We have filtered water in our apartment so that is what I use to wash my face, the water from the spicket is too dirty and made sister arnold break out so We are testing new ways not get zits! Today we are going to the store to get laundry soap so that we can HAND WASH our laundry! Where is grandma when I need her!:) haha Joke lang!!! I don't really understand anything that is going on the lessons, I try to pick out words I know and Sister Arnold will help me with Phrases and stuff to respond! President said for serious to learn the language but not to stress about it! Everyone knows English so if we get stuck with words to just speak English to them! But It is necessary to learn because not everyone we will contact will get it! So I don't stress but I still strive to speak as much Hiligaynon as I can possibly can! So at church on Sunday! Like 15 minutes before sacrament started I was asked to bear my testimony, then about 10 minutes before they came back and asked me to play the piano, then 5 minutes before it started they came back AGAIN and said a speaker didnt show up, so I gave a talk as well! Sheesh! I started out in Hiligaynon, did most of my talk in english then bore my testimony with Hiligaynon! It was nice! So I am officially the ward piano player because the last sister was it and Sis. Arnold cant play! I guess the ward needed me! HA jokes! But a lot of our time is spent trying to re-activate people! We stopped by like 7 huts on the ways to church and no one wanted to come! Only 5/16 people were at church! People need to just go to church!!  Everyone texted me Happy Birthday, well pres and the Ap's! I do like it here! Still adjusting! I feel super weird on the streets all the little kids just stare at me and the older people say "oh guapa" all the time! I never know what to say, so I just say thanks! Mom, I never drink the water! We cant and the members know that so they usually will buy us some or don't offer at all! We have been walking alot! We go running every morning at this little park, they have aerobics class! IDK if we can do the class or not but maybe I will see! By the summer there will be 100 more SISTERS coming so I most likely will be training!....Scary thought! I just try to focus on the here and now! We try to walk everywhere we can! We rode in a tricycle once last night because it was raining, haha a bike attached to this little cart, they def have some nice calves!! HAHA I am trying to remember everything to tell you!! Hopefully this helps you all out with what I am doing and where I am living!  Wow sounds like you had a great week! It was so nice to talk to everyone and to See Greg, Kristin and Bode! Love you all! Lou the ring is gorgeous!! Good luck Tate, it is getting super close!! I have been being obedient and praying for the gift of tongues!! Good luck with the Student Council race Sam and Maddy! I will do my best to say healthy and happy! It is really hot and sort of muggy but so so pretty! Everything is so green! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! We get to celebrate together!!! How fun! I cant believe I am 23~ Weird!! EEK!! Mom will you check my Capital One and stuff to make sure I dont have any payments! Salamat gid!  But My time is almost up! I Love you all and miss you so much! It is kind weird but I think I will like it! Cant wait to hear from you all next week! Be good and be safe! MMUUAAHH!!!! Tell Abby Hi for me! I will do my best! Keep praying for me ya....I Need it! Gotta go meet up with some elders in our district for my Birthday lunch haha! It should be fun!! Love you! 


First Transfer!!!
I AM GETTING TRANSFERED!!!!!!!!! :) :) I am so excited! I am going to the big city of Bucharest in the Mihai Bravo Branch!!! I am so excited! My new companion is Sister Lund and she is from America and she is so nice! I slept at there house the night I got to the country and she is as sweet as pie:) I heard she is good with the language so I am so excited! She is ÿoung in the Mission" but it will be good because we will learn together! This transfer is only 4 weeks and then 7 new sisters are coming into the mission so basically everyone is going to be training... I dont think I will but who knows?? but for sure Sora Lund will... so its looking like I will have 4 weeks in Bucharest and then I will be shipped somewhere else!!! I love it! I told President Hill in my First interview that I was a person he could count on to go anywhere in the country!! I guess he took me up on my offer.. I am the only one in the group from the MTC that is switching out of the city that they were "Born in!" I didn't not thinking that I was going to get switched it was quite a surprise but I am really excited! I loved Constanta and it was super fun... I am going to miss the Black Sea. The members are really cool too... One of the girls starting crying as I was saying goodbye to her! And we are going over to one of the family's house that loves me tonight so I can say goodbye to them! The ward is also sad that they are losing their piano player.... But its ok.. I am here on this mission to learn to adjust and learn to adjust fast! Yesterday President Hill and Sora Hill and the Assistants came to Constanta. It was really cool. The Assistants talked to us about goal setting and it was crazy because they were like.. "What is your vision for the future of what you want to become in this life?" and it hit me so hard... I want to prepare to be the best mother I can and raise my kids in the gospel! I want to be able to teach my kids and be a good example to them. It was so crazy.. I felt stupid because I started choking up a little bit... I was like "my mom and dad and my family go on missions... it has meant the world to me..- I want that for my kids" So it was cool... It made me really think about my purpose here on the mission to become a true disciple of Christ to prepare myself for the role of a mother! So it was super cool. Then I got interviewed by President Hill and he is the nicest guy ever-- He said he was so happy that I am here and he thinks I am doing great. I then talked with Sora Hill and she is amazing. She volunteered to be my "mom" while I was out here on the mission! She was excited for me that I was getting transferred to be with Sora Lund! This week has been pretty good... last Monday night I talk a family there songs on the piano and then I taught them how to make brownies the proper American way so that they have some flavor ha they loved it! They thought it was like Christmas:) The next day we did some contacting in the park. It is so funny I just got done reading Sarahs email... She challenged someone to be baptized her first day and they accepted??? ha what is that place.. that is not what is happening in Romania... We will be having completely different missions! ha We went contacting and we talked to some people and one guy seemed interested and we asked him if he wanted to know more and he was like "No I am orthodox" then we talked to another guy and he seemed interested that we were american but he wouldn't take a card... then we talked to another guy... AND I gave him a Book of Mormon!! He said he would actually read it! We gave him the basically the lesson on the Restoration right then and there! It was pretty cool! We talk Dana the librarian that day too... She is so nice! She loves us! Whenever we walk in she has a huge smile on her face and she is like "hello Abby!" ha super funny! On Friday we had a really busy day... out of the ordinary busy for us... We taught the recent convert and another girl in the ward about missionary work and everything that goes along with it... afterwords we taught an inactive lady who hasn't been to church for a year.. (She CAME on Sunday though!) We then went and taught the mother with her son some English and then we taught them the lesson on the restoration! I was able to bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon and even though it was simple I could really feel the spirit strong as I was testifying. So that was really sweet. She seems interested so I think my companion will keep working with them. While I was sitting there this 13 year old boy starts getting close to me and then he kisses me on the cheek! ha funny.. awkward.. ha But I guess not really because everyone is always kissing everyone around here! ha So today is Monday and we were riding on the bus I wanted to go talk to this girl that was sitting there... I felt like I should... but my trainer is always telling me not to talk to people unless I am prepared... (it kind of reminds me of Jakes Rounds experience he had in Russia where his trainer really wouldn't let him talk) I thought to myself I am going to go talk to her because I can for sure bear my testimony and talk about the Book of Mormon. So I went and sat next to her... I was like "Buna Ziua" She looks at back at me and says "ce??" ha So in my broken Romanian I started telling her about everything... I am from America... I am missionary... I teach about Jesus Christ... I will be here for 16 months... I asked her if she had heard about our church or the Book of Mormon... She had never heard about either so I bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon and I handed her a pass along card with our number and info... on it then I gave her card to check out the website.. it was so cool... when all was said and done she tells me that she knows English.. hahaha o well I have to practice somehow right? I just have to start speaking more! That is why I am super excited to be getting transferred! I am ready to rock this mission and bear my testimony of the truth of this gospel to everyone that will listen! I felt so good after I was talking to a girl on the bus I tried it with a lady in the library! I said Buna ziua to her and she just looks at me and says "recounaste?" Which means like... Do I know you?? ha I just said no I am from America I just wanted to say hi... So I think that the language is coming along better! Lets see what else has been going on... O ya Sora Hill wants me to organize a wellness competition for the whole mission!! Cool huh? I guess its a big problem in the mission for people to eat healthy and work out.. She says that lots of Elders and Sister complain that they don't have enough money because they eat out to much! So I am thinking of a way to have a point system with prizes and everything so people can be rewarded for not eating out more than twice a week and for staying within budget... and working out everyday and eating a balanced diet everyday. We will see how it goes! I will be calling her after this and we might present it to the whole mission this Thursday and mission conference!! EVERY missionary in the mission will be there! I am so excited I will get to see Sora Kelly and Sora Gerhartz and all my elders from the MTC- I will also get to see Brandon Cox from Rigby! He only has one transfer left and then he will be going home... It is super fun out here though because once you meet someone one time you are instantly friends for life! Everyone starts planning the rest of our futures together.. I even have an Elder who wants a job at Osgood grain while he goes to BYUI in a couple of years.. ha Another funny thing I got a letter from Andy Furrows and he is so funny! I miss him! He says once he gets home all of those guys want to skype me at Christmas time! ha yes I still hear from all of those guys! I really do hear from quite a few people and I love it! Now that I am in Bucharest I will get my mail every week so that will be sweet. The dear Elders do work so those can also keep coming! Lora I got both of your dear elders! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD AND SARAH! Its so wierd the time zone that I am in... because Yesterday I said to myself I am missing my Sarah AND my dads birthday on the same day here.. because sarah is a day ahead.. Crazy! but Dad hopefully you got my card and Sarah I hope that you had a great day!  :) It is great hearing from everyone it sounds like everyone is doing great! Mom your story about seeing Maureah!! ah I love and miss that women!! So crazy that she is going to Texa! O and another cool thing!! we just ran into Lenea!! Our German girl!!! The one that I thought dropped us! she said that she would meet with us tomorrow because I told her that I was leaving so hopefully she is still wanting to meet with us:) Well even after I leave! She is so cool-- The gospel would change her life! That is about all that is going on.. poor Sarah showering in buckets... washing her clothes by hand!!! haha Grandma Rounds would be so proud! But yes we are going to have very opposite missions... I am so so happy for her! Sarah will rock that mission! I am so excited for Tate!! ah he is getting so close now! By the time he leaves I will probably be transferred again! Tate you will love it.. Andy Furrows sounded so great in his letter.. he absolutely loves the mission! O ya.. I fixed my suitcase so I dont have to buy another one... I just have to leave the handle up... I did go shopping the other day though.. I had to buy a new pair of boots because my other ones were starting to hurt my feet because I wear them everyday.. . Don't worry about me looking good on the streets I didn't mean to scare you guys!!! ha I still kind of look the same... now when people stare and me I will just start speaking in Romanian about the gospel.. that will throw them off.. haha So that will be my contacting stragtegy! I have no idea what it will be like in Bucharest as far as missionary work goes but I am excited for a change and ya... super excited!! I would love it if I made it to every city! My trainer is pretty sad that I am leaving... she is training again... so she was like "great I have to start over..." ha but she said I have been her favorite companion because I make her laugh everyday...  I am getting used to the missionary life style more and more everyday! This week we will go to Bucharest on Wednesday night.. sleep over... and then we will have our big mission conference the next day all day and then I will stay in Bucharest! It will be weird not going back on the 4 hour bus ride! Sora Gerhartz and I will be in Bucharest together.. She is getting a new trainer... and then Sora Kelly is staying in Timisoara. So Everything is good.. I am excited for the adventures ahead of me! Sam good luck with Running for Student council! You will be great!! I am sure that Grandma will bring it home for you! I will pray for you! Maddy why havent you written me... what is this.. now you have an iphone and I become chopped liver??? get on that...  thanks you are the best! Hopefully this letter makes sense I love you guys so much!! Thanks for being such great examples to me!! You are the best:) Thank you everyone for writing me I love hearing from Aunts and Grandma! and everyone else it just makes my day:) Keep it up! I know that this church is true I will keep striving everyday to become a true disciple of Christ! It will for sure take a life time! ha Everyday we should always be improving! that is what I have learned as I am on this mission... we should never be stagnant... always moving forward and improving.. a mission is just a great place to start:) I am so thankful for the priveledge to be here representing Christ name and the Polatis family name! I am learning so much! Time is going to by so fast... there is no way it is almost march!! in 3 more weeks we will get transfer boards AGAIN! ha we will see how it goes!!! :) I love you guys so much!! Thank you for all the prayers!! :) I know that they help.. I have the best family in the world!
Love Sora Abby Polatis

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chasing whales in Romania--OFF to PHILIPPINES

Draga Familia! Ce mai faciti? (How are you all doing?) :) Well things are going pretty good here! I can't believe I have been here for one month! Time really is flying by! We have transfers next week and then another transfer 4 weeks later because we are trying to match up with the new schedules at the MTC... But I guess our mission isn't growing so our numbers are going to stay the same:) As a district we were all trying to make guesses of who is getting transferred... I thought for sure I would stay here but some people are putting guesses that I will be getting transferred so we will see! I will let you know next Monday what is happening! I really like it here though!
 First off I have a funny story.. you guys might make fun of me but ya here it goes... so I was kind of having a rough day last monday... So I was just trying to figure some stuff out and I was pondering looking out to the Black sea from our apartment. I looked off into the distance and seriously thought that I saw WHALES! ( I didnt know at the time that there isnt whales in the black sea... just dolphins... ha) So I yell to my companion.. "Whales... we have to run our there and take a picture with them!! She looked out the window not super convinced that it was whales... but she saw how excited I was and determined that it was whales... she agreed to go! So we get our cameras and start running outside along the beach! The "Whales" were a lot further than they looked.. so after we are sprinting for like hmmmm 25minutes along the beach we get to the place! AND..... yep just waves.... but honestly they looked like whale tales... I was so convinced... We just started busting up laughing... I mean I am 21 years old and chasing after waves... but it put a big smile on my face and we still took pictures with the waves:) So that was pretty funny... and then that night we taught a family FHE about how to do missionary work. Ok so anyways.. :) We have been working a lot with members in the branch because the branch is pretty small and we are working hard to get them to be reunited and excited about missionary work. Some people in the ward don't even tell their friends that they are members of the church... so we are trying to get them wanting the blessings of sharing the gospel. Some of the people that we are teaching include a lady named Roxanna... she speaks really good English so we went on a walk around the park.. She loves us and really likes to be with us.. her life is crazy with all sorts of stories but hopefully this week we can get her reading the Book of Mormon! We can tell that she is looking for something in life. She worked on a cruise line in Florida for a while and she was like... Ï love Americans! They are so nice.. I just don't like that you guys can have guns... ha (I didn't mention that we are one of those families) But she seems really nice so we will see how it goes! Our German girls dropped us.. Bummer but its ok.. She went on her trip and we have tried calling her and texting her and she doesn't respond- But thats ok! It happens! Also the Guy that we were teaching in the ward doesn't really want to change his life so he wont be getting baptized...he said he knows the church is true its just not for Him. I think that later down on the road he will realize how much the gospel will bless his family and he will join them in the gospel! We started teaching the lady at the library English and she said we could teach her a spiritual message next time we come and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE her! She is the sweetest lady ever! When she is trying to learn English she is just like (nu pot.. .nu pot) I cant... I cant... I looked at her and I was like Ïf I can learn Romanian then we can for sure teach you English... She just starting laughing and was like - You are so cute.. and of course you are going to learn Romanian because you are living in this country! But she is super super cool so I hope that everything goes well with her:) We meet with her on Wednesday so we will see how it goes! We also started teaching this Women and her son English and we gave them the Book of Mormon and we will be meeting with them this week! She already started reading the Book of Mormon and she seems really interested so we are excited to teach them! I remember thinking how cool is was that the missionaries taught the Butikoer family I am a child of God and how much they have used that since they have been back home... I decided to give back to this area and I am teaching Elena... who is one of the recent converts her favorite Hymn... and I am also teaching that family 2 of their favorite hymns! Mom I will look on that website and see if I can order the books for them here.. I will let you know for sure:) But ya its good.. the family has there own keyboard so I color coded some music and I will color coordinate the piano with it and we will see how it goes! The girl Elena though... she got baptized like 3 days before I got here and she is so so cool! the gospel has blessed her life so much! She is what all of us need to be.. in class when they ask who wants to give the prayer she jumps right up because she is so excited! She loves the gospel it has changed her life! She is doing personal progress and so my companion and I have decided to do it with her:) Now I can get another necklace when I get home haha... But everything really is going well there is a lot to do in this area! We have less active to bring back to the church.. people who are offended... So we will keep busy! We had a great planning session last night and I think that things are really going to start picking up! We thought of some good contacting ideas and I am excited to be here! I started reading through the Book of Mormon, which is amazing by the way.. I recommend everyone to read it every single day! It is the word of God which we need to be steadfastly clinging to at all times! But ok so in 1 Nephi 17:21 it is talking about how Laman and Lemuel are mad because they were complaining about all of the sufferings that they have had in the wilderness there were talking about how it would have been better if they were back with all of their possesions and it said, "we might have been happy." Well as I continued on reading in 2 Nephi 5:27 It is now Nephi and his family following all the commandments and living the way God wants them to and it says, Änd it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." Thats the key... Laman and Lemuel could have been happy if they were obedient to the Lord. It is so crazy because it is repeated over and over in the Book of Mormon.. "Keep the commandments and you will prosper." I just thought that this was a really amazing thing for me personally because I have to truly commit to the people here in Romania- I am where the Lord wants me to be- I will find great joy and happiness in the service of my God - I just have to let it happen and not be thinking about back home or anything else.. If I am focused on the work I will be happy! I think that this is a great lesson to learn for life in General... I want to come home and I really want to find myself always being happy and loving every day that God has blessed me with. We have the gospel in our lives.. we should be the happiest people on this planet! I know that this gospel is true! it is... there is no way that any of it could be false! the scriptures make so much sense... I feel priviledged to be able to serve the people in Romanian.. I might not get 1000 baptisms but I am called her for a reason... That reason is to love the people in Romania with all my might heart and strength. I am not perfect but I really am trying harder everyday to be better! The language sometimes does bother me but I am working on a study plan that will help me and that new convert Elena says that she will help me! I will teach her piano and then in return she will speak with me.. I know that it will come... We have to struggle that we will be humble and allow God to help us. But yes.. I am learning a lot on this mission... Even being out here for 3 months has changed my perspective on a lot of different things! So I am thankful to be here!
Thank you everyone for writing me! I appreciate all the love and support that I recieve! I recieved the Dear Elders from everyone last Thursday when my Zone leaders came to Constanta! I loved it! Grandma Rounds you are pretty good with all the technology:) ha . Maddy I have a couple Romanian girls that want to be my friend on Facebook... Will you add them.. they want to see all my pictures... ha it should be anca elena and andrea...  And its also funny because no one can say my name right here... not even the English elders so I am going to have a tag made spelled like "Pălaidăs" ha pretty cool huh... we will see if the office Elders will get it made for me! He owes me for giving him some medical advice anyways.. But o ya as far as nursing goes.. I dont really do much but I still do have people call me on occasion and ask what they should do so its pretty cool! I like it!  That is so so cool about Shaylee Jacobs!!! tell her congratulations from me!!! :)  Here is so nice its like spring most days... I love it! Constanta is the best for that reason! President and Sora Hill are coming this weekend to our district so it will be fun to see them here! Everything is good! missionary work is the best thing in the world! When I get home I will for sure have patience and diligence mastered:)  Thanks for everything! o ya and the verb to kiss on the cheek is a pupa... so if if I was going to say kisses to all of you guys its "va pup" ha and the u makes an oo sound... ha I thought you guys would think that was funny! So va pup!!! va iubesc!!!! no regrete:)
dragostea, Sora Abby Polatis
ps... my companion was singing in the general conference when I decided I was going on a mission... She thought that it was destiny:) haha It looks like it was! She is a good trainer and I am learning a lot from her! She wants me to succeed so we are doing good working together! I hope we stay together next transfer!

So I will be calling you soon so I dont wanna write too soon! Yes, it is only 4:30 in the MORNING!!! HAHA sister Ili l left this morning-- IT was pretty weird saying "goodbye! Cant wait to talk to you!!! Love you all! 

Love Sarah

Valentine treat for all to share!!
Last pic with Sister Illi

Oh boy, super fun district;)

my district--I will miss them!

My buddy, my pal--Kaden!

Laundry room friends

Learning the piano the Romanian way

Monday, February 4, 2013

 On to the Philipines

Well, The last week here! It really hasnt been that bad! Hopefully I didnt make it sound like it was! But I got my FLIGHT PLANS!!! Scary but here they are

We leave the MTC Monday 2/11/2013 at 1:30 for SLC- So we should be there at like 2:30ish! 
LEAVE SLC 4:55pm

I will Probably call you at the Salt Lake airport like 3 or something and then in LA because we have 5 hours of layover

ARRIVE HONG KONG 5:55 AM-on the 13th haha we lose a day!

Leave HONG KONG 7:55 AM

Well it sounds like Grandpa had a wonderful birthday party!! Super Fun! Tell him to Be careful! And about the Flu, I know I was TICKED when I got it! Thanks for all your prayers! It really was a good week! Language is still sketch but it will come! It has too! I saw Kaden a lot this week! It is really hard for me to call him "Elder Robison!" HA but he seems like he is doing alright!  I went to the Temple this morning! It was really nice! It will be weird not going every week!  Yes, I ventured out into the real world at got a new PIN number! It should be one that I will remember!
 We are still teaching and it seems to go better, I just need confidence to just freaking SPEAK!! So frustrating! But I know most of it in my head just feel scared to let it out haha but I have an evaluation tomorrow to see how it will actually go! So super funny, I am at the temple and people keep coming up to me saying "oh hey, there is an elder Polatis here!" Me kinda of freaking out a little because I was thinking, oh maybe Tate actually came here (I must be that crazy hahah) But it was a kid Kyle Polatis??   He is going to California! So that was pretty funny!   Tell every one THANKS THANKS THANKS for all the letters! Oh my, they really do make my day! Thanks for the calling card Number! I will use it for sure! If you are sending me something it has to be here by Friday, or else I wont get it!   But we are all super excited to go! A little nervous but the little Filipino sisters always give us a confidence boost and are so excited for us! They tell us all the time "Don't worry, people will laugh at you when you cant speak but then they want to help you" HAHAHA super funny! But all is well! I will email you next week before I leave! We had mission conference yesterday and it was really good! They just touched on the basics, testimony, prayer! I love the new MTC president! He is so chill and just a good spirit! Abby sounds like she is doing great! Ha what a hottie! Cant keep the guys off of her!! But Love you all! It will be a fast week I am sure! I am so excited! I love you all! Be good and be safe! Keep praying that this language will  stick in my head!! AUNT SANDY, Gosh I love your letters! Thanks so much! AUNT MINDY, haha I needed your story! It really is true, we can do hard things and we need to rely on the lord! Tell Your kids hi for me! I really have the best family EVER!!   Aunt Pegs,   tell all of your kids thanks so much for them singing the mission song for me!! I loved it and was really excited to hear them sing even though they are not acquainted with me at all.  Prepare another one for next month!!!  I will enjoy it so much!!  thanks to everyone for all the love and support__I need you all so much.

Palangga TAKA!!! Halong!!!

Sister Polatis!!!

Draga Familie!
How is everyone doing? It is great to hear from everyone! Keep all the Emails coming I love getting updates from everyone:) Happy Birthday Grandpa Rounds!!!! Sorry I missed it! Sounds like that was a fun day!. It is so funny... I am going to get our family picture lamenated because EVERYONE wants to see it! every lesson- my vocabulary isnt that great but I bring out pictures of the family and everybody warms right up to me! They LOVE Sam! He has the dark hair and dark eyes... I showed my picture to a girl in the ward yesterday and she was like - I want to marry your brother! ha  So if you want to email me some more pictures that would be awesome!  Tate get ready to go!! you are so close now!! :) You guys get to talk to Sarah next week too! That is awesome I am so excited for her to get to the field.
Kara Polatis I am excited to hear that you are planning to go on a mission! You will love it! Get prepared:)
Well for this week--- To Start off has anyone been to an Orthodox Funeral? ha I am guessing the answer is NO. Well the sister of one of our less active sister has been sick for a couple of months and I guess that missionaries before I got here would go sing to her and teach her once a week. She ended up dying last sunday so we were all invited to the funeral. So picture this we walk into the "viewing" and the room is like the size of our old living room and there is 4 dead bodies in there lined up next to each other in these open wooden caskets. Orthodox icons are everyone and candles are burning. In America we try to make our people look nice... but these guys just take them straight from the hospital beds! So we walk in there and it smells like Franincense. Elder Eaton and I just went and sat on a couch on the side of the room and tried pretending that there wasnt a dead guy one foot in front of my face... ha Everyone is just passig around a bowl full of random crackers and drinking soda! People were coming in a kissing the bodies... Elder Eaton turns to me and he was like "I will give you 100 lei if you kiss the head of that dead guy" First off it was the end of the month so I know that he was out of money and second off... NEVER! ha you would have to pay me a lot more than that! Well the the priest comes in and he is doing his chanting and then they take the body out... We then go to the church and there is more chanting... We are all holding candles and people are passing around random sacks of food for us to eat. The priest keeps asking the question... ce este viata? Which is what is life? I sat there and thought about what life really is. Thankfully we know that plan of salvation. I felt really bad as I looked around at everyone crying because I thought... they really dont know... they dont know what life is all about. After the church we then went to the cemetary... (I know long day.. ha) They just carry the body through the cemetary still with an open casket and it is freezing! But we get to the grave site and then as they are lowering her in the ground they pass out bread in the shape of crosses and some sort of cake that only is served at funerals! The cake was like rice pudding texture.. you all know how much I love that... ha but after that they then had this big Romanian feast. Soup... bread... french fries... chicken,... meat... etc. So it was good! We then sang some hymns for the family and then we left to go teach English class. Seriously though I wish I could put this day into more detail! It was crazy! One of the craziest things that I have ever been too!
The next night we had a big ward party for the going away of Cata ( he is a young man from the Branch) on his mission to Germany! We had some of our less actives show up and some potential investigators so it was quite a success. They had a lot of food and Karaoke...  ha It was really fun! The Branch here is so so cool! They love us missionaries so its fun! we Actually started a member training program and we had been teaching the members how to do missionary work and also set up time where we can teach people in their homes! It is working nicely we have gotten like 3 referrals! which is the only way it works in Romanian... because you aren't just asking people to change their religion they are changing every single aspect of their lives!
We started talking to one of the ladies that works here at the library! She is super nice! I tried to speak to her and I was telling her that I have only been here for like 2 weeks and she was really impressed! She was so nice she was like when you girls walk in you are always smiling and there seems to be something different about you! So we starting teaching her in her office and we are excited because we are going to teach her again this week on Friday!
Speaking of us looking different... In the MTC I remember asking my teachers if I thought I would fit in with the Romanian people.. they said no.. but I guess I really didnt believe that we would stick out so much ha Everyone is always staring at us. But it wierd because Its like that havent seen an american girl with big eyes and big lips before... I have had a lot of guys try to come up and talk to me or there are just staring at me. I was on the bus yesterday and we were going to teach one of our members husband and there was  a group of guys on the bus and I was just sitting there.. they were saying something but I had no idea what they were saying.. The member just looks and me and tells me to get up and then we moved up and away from the boys. She explained to my companion after that they were saying some nasty things about me... so ya... I was so shocked... it was wierd because that is the third time that has happened to me... One day a random guy came up to me and was saying something... then a guy on the bus... Curse these good looks haha just kidding but seriously they suggested that I wear less makeup... and just not to do anything that brings more attention to myself. Having the name tag and smiling at people is already so different from everyone. It is still wierd for me here to smile at someone and they dont smile back! but ya dont worry I will just keep all the missionary rules and be smart and I will be ok. I am always right next to my companion so it will be good- I was just really shocked! We then had a lesson and it went really well.. we are the first set of missionaries that have taught him the restoration and he said he would come to church on Sunday! His daughter and I have become really good friends so she is super excited!
The German girl went on a trip for a week so we havent heard from her.. I tried calling her last night and she didnt pick up but hopefully she call us so we can meet this week!
But everything is going good! I am trying to be patient with myself. I am too hard on myself for not knowing this language -- sometimes I honestly think..."I will never get this!" But I just keep on going.. I keep on trying! I have to have faith that I will get this language. One of my favorite scriptures that I found this week is Phillippians 4:11 where is says, "Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content" I need to be content in every situation. I even looked up the work content and found that it means satisfied and happy! I just need to enjoy this humbling stage of the mission. I really am loving it here it just sometimes there are hard days or some lessons when I only catch a couple words! But I will never give up! I am 100% committed to this mission and to the Romanian people! I know that with God I can do all things! I have started reading the Book of Mormon from the first and I have one that has no markings in it--- It is amazing! I have different colors for different things and as I am reading the words come to life! I have never found more meaning in the first book of Nephi then I have had reading it this past week--- So so amazing! I just want to go and finish the whole book! We all need to be continuously feasting upon the words of Christ!
You will be happy to know that I have also started this good exercise plan for myself! I wake up every morning and we have a jump rope... so I just rope like crazy and then do push ups... sit up.. etc... But its great.. I never thought I would be able to work out in the morning but it gets easier and easier everyday! I love how good I feel after a good work out!  Before I forget, tell Aunt Peggy thank you so much for the great song from her ward!!!I LOVED IT.  It made me feel so good to think that these young people that don't even know me were so excited to sing for me the praises of a mission.I hope they felt the spirit like I did when I heard it.  Maybe it can change some lives as well.   Thanks Aunt Peg!!  You'll have to do it again.   That is about it for me this week! I miss you guys a lot and I hope that you are doing great! Keep up the good work in everything! I love you guys so so much! Thanks for all your love and support! I will keep working hard! Memorizing my phrases and doing the best I can! I am learning a lot of life lessons here and I am excited to be learning them here! Missions will prepare you for life and marriage that is for sure! ha But I love you guys! Thank you for writing me!! Have a great week!
va iubesc!
Sora Abby Polatis

 Sunrise! so pretty.. sometimes I think that they are just for me:)

 Elena... The most recent convert to the Branch! She is awesome and has such a strong testimony!

 Group at Cata going away party!

 Ward at Cata going away party

 Such a cool family that we had FHE with! I love them!

 Us at the church on Sunday! We only have one young women in the ward but she is super cool!

My District! We have a lot of fun together