What This is All About

McKay is now a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She is serving in the Romania/ Moldova Mission for a year and a half. While she is away- her family (that's us) will be posting her weekly emails and updates for loved ones to this blog.

Monday, July 11, 2016

7/11/2016 Week 76 Chisinau, Moldova

Draga familia-

Well, here we are! my very last week as a missionary in Moldova. I wish I even had words to express how I feel right now.. but I just dont! I can't believe that this crazy awesome journey is coming to an end :( This last week is going to be so bittersweet, Im just trying to mentally prepare myself haha. Its a strange feeling. But I am ready to see what this week brings, and what my life at home brings!
 I am ready to go home and embrace life with a whole new perspective of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the meaning it has in my life. I am so grateful for the fact that we all have such a divine purpose in this life. Nobody on earth was put here merely by coincidence. We all have this incredible potential that we can fulfill, to accomplish things that God has prepared for us to accomplish! I am SO thankful for the Book of Mormon. That book has the power to change lives, and I know this because it changed mine. I am forever changed because of my service as a missionary. Service, love, and charity are the key principles to living a Christlike life. He was the ulitimate example of these attributes during His ministry on earth. These are principles that I have learned more in depth on my mission. I want to strive the rest of my life to love and serve others as Christ did! I know that my calling as a missionary is not over. It's just the beginning! I will serve the Lord for the rest of my life, I continually want to bring others to the knowledge of this AMAZING plan that God has for us. I want to share the wonders of the Book of Mormon with people all throughout my life! I have been blessed immensely because of this book. I have been blessed with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and only through Him can we become the best versions of ourselves! 
Im so thankful for the experiences I have had these past 18 months, they have strengthened my testimony so much, and just me as a person! I have learned so much about life and how to conquer trials that seem impossible sometimes. Im so thankful for the beautiful moments I have spent with some of the most faithful people I have ever met! I will never forget the memories I have made here in Moldova and Romania :) My mission has truly changed me. It will forever hold a huge place in my heart. :) 
I love this gospel. I know it is the truth. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us :) 

I love you all! See you in two weeks! ❤

Multumesc tuturor acelora care m-au ajutat in aceasta calatorie. Aceasta misiune mi-a schimbat viata. Si stiu mai bine decat niciodata ca Biserica aceasta este adevarata, si ca este biserica aleasa. Ar trebuit sa fie restaurata prin intermediul lui Joseph Smith. El intr-adevar a fost un profet al lui Dumnezeu. Sunt recunoscatoare pentru toate principiile pe care le-am invatat pe parcursul misiunii mele. Intotdeauna voi fi recunoscatoare pentru toate experientele (frumoase si grele) pe care le-am trecut. Romania si Moldova sunt cele mai frumoase tari de pe pamant ;) Intotdeauna ma voi gandi la experienta mea ca slujitoara a Domnului. Eu iubesc cu adevarat aceasta biserica. Tot restul vietii mele voi fi misionara a Bisericii lui Isus Hristos a Sfintilor din Zilele din Urma!

Va iubesc pe voi toti. Ne vedem in curand :) 

Sora Draper

Monday, July 4, 2016

7/4/2016 Week 75 Chisinau, Moldova

Buna seara dragii mei! Bine, stiu ca acolo in statele e cam la ora 7 in dimineata... deci, ar trebuie sa spun 'buna dimineata' ;)

Much to report. SOOOO MUCH. 
It starts like this...

First of all, lets start with this craziness: I HAVE BEEN STUCK IN ROMANIA ALL DAY! We left Moldova two days ago, to attend an MLC (mission leadership conference) in Bucharest, Romania. Our journey there was wild. We took a maxi taxi 5 hours to Iasi, Romania, and slept the night at the sisters apartment there. We got to bed at about 2 am. Then, we woke up at 3:30 am to go to the Iasi airport, to take a flight to Bucharest. Running off of an hour of sleep... so fun, let me tell you. :) So we arrive in Bucharest, and I get to spend the morning with my recent convert/ eternal best friend TALITA :) We walked around Bucharest and ate breakfast. It was amazing to spend time after not seeing her for a few transfers :) Then all of the mission leaders (the zone leaders and the sister training leaders) went to the mission home to have the conference. We started with a HUGE fourth of July BBQ, since this all happened on the 4th :) MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY! It was perfect, the only thing I was missing was the fireworks, fam, and friends! But the food was great and I was reunited with some of my best friends in the mission like Sora Cutler :):) I have been blessed to see her and hang out with her so often the last few months of my mission!! 

The most influential part of this week, my mission, and my entire life as a whole: the MLC Conference. After 18 months of conferences, trainings, meetings, etc.... this one changed me entirely. This conference, it felt like everything just clicked. Perfectly. It was definitely the strongest spiritual feelings I have felt in my entire mission so far, a pretty remarkable experience. I wish I could explain it better, but I truly just cant! I felt changes that had happened to me throughout my mission. Sitting there in that conference, I felt new things and learned more about myself than ever before. I couldnt help but cry and cry and cry even more, as I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and listened to the testimonies of other missionaries. I couldnt help but cry as I felt the immense love that Prez and Sora Ivory have for us. I felt a stronger love for the gospel than I ever have before. At the end of the end of the conference, it absolutely clicked to me.. the kind of person I will be after this experience. The things I have experienced, the things I have learned.. they have changed me in ways I cant even explain. And I truly felt that yesterday. I honestly just bawled, also because it hit me for the first time yesterday that I am ending my mission. I see Mom and Dad in Bucharest exactly 2 weeks from today. And it hit me so strongly that these are my last two weeks to enjoy this life here. Once again... I cant fully express to you these feelings over email! When I am home, I cant wait to tell you all stories and experiences that I had here. Too amazing for words :) 

The conference ended with a big surprise: BOWLING WITH THE PREZ ;) Yes.. we have the most incredible mission president ever. He took all of us to the nicest bowling alley I have ever seen, in north Bucharest. We had some serious bro time with prez, while he literally kicked all of our butts in bowling ;) I thought I was bad before the mission.... hahahah.... ITS A LOT WORSE NOW. Its bad. I gotta step up my game when I get home, thats for sure ;) 

Basically, it was the most incredible, spiritually uplifting, craziest, and happiest Fourth of July I could have ever asked for :) Besides the fireworks.. im pretty sad about that part. Haha. I am so happy and proud to be an American!!! WEEOOWWW!! :)

So, back to the story. We left bowling, and drove to the airport in Bucharest. We almost missed our flight, but that just made it a more memorable experience ;) We then flew from Bucharest, back to Iasi... to sleep ANOTHER NIGHT in Iasi. BUT.... PLOT TWIST... We get a call from the office elders telling us that the only maxi taxis back to Chisinau, Moldova were at ONE in the morning, THREE in the morning... or the next day at SIX pm. Well, it was way to sketchy to leave that night alone, in a foreign city. So, we decided to stay in Iasi all of today and take our pday here, then take a maxi taxi late tonight. So here we are in Iasi, one of my favorite cities in Romania! We went shopping at the famous Palace Mall (google that, its magnificent) and took advantage of the amazing Romanian food that we dont have over there in Moldova ;) 

So I look forward to the next week and a half that I have Chisinau, then I will go to Bucharest for interviews and meetings before I meet Mom and Dad! I probably wont get to email that last monday, so that means that next monday will be my LAST FAMILY EMAIL!!! :(:( WOW 






Sora Draper

Monday, June 27, 2016

6/27/2016 Week 74 Chisinau, Moldova


WOW. What an exciting week! I havent sent a family email for a while, so I will give you all a quick update on life here in Chisinau, Moldova. Things are AWESOME!!! Especially now that its summer. And it is HOT, real real hot. and HUMID. We sweat nonstop. My mission has changed me in so many ways spiritually... but also lets face the facts here, now im just a chubbier, sweatier, more awkward version of my old self ;);) WOOOOH, mission life!!! :)  You gotta love it! 

So, first of all, Christina. She's a stubborn one ;) We have taught her everything we can. We had several good lessons with her in the past two weeks, and basically just threw down hard core, testifying of baptism and the blessings and the importance of it. And she LOVES it, agrees with all of it, and says she wants to be a member. She just wont make the commitment... she is struggling with that part. Just taking the step. It has been a good experience, but also frustrating because she is so ready. SO ready! We are continually praying that our words will sink in, that she will be softened by the scriptures and prayer and that one day she will wake up to the fact that she is ready. Until then... we are just loving her and doing the best we can to help her! She is amazing. It will happen soon.. we can feel it. :) 

The amazing golden family: Valeria, Sergiu, and baby Amelia. They are AMAZING and want to be baptized, our only obstacle with them is that it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to meet with them! You can blame Satan for that one. Thanks a lot, bro. It is soooo difficult, we are having so many obstacles and barriers and lessons falling through. It is seriously becasue they are GOLDEN and will be a pillar familiy in the church. We just pray for opportunities to teach them. 

BAPTISMS! We have had a MIRACULOUS month here in Chisinau. In our branch, we had 10 baptisms this month!!! Chisinau is the place to be, I am SO grateful to be ending my mission here in this beautiful country with peole that I absolutely love. And I never want to leave them, ever ever ever. :) Its such a cool experience for our investigators to come and see the baptisms, they are inspiring and spiritual, and they really just unite the branch. We are a big big family out here. :) 

WORMS... yes you read that. Im not sure if I have legitimate worms.. but I would not be surprised. We had a really bad run in with some fresh cherries we bought on the street (this is a usual habit for us, we basically live off of street vended fruit in the summer, especially cherries). We have been eating these suckers ALL SUMMER. And then last week, we came to the wonderful realization (after eating half a kilogram of cherries already) that EVERY CHERRY IN OUR BAG HAD A WHITE WIGGLY WARM INSIDE OF IT. Yep, after eating kilo after kilo after kilo of them all month. Absolutely infested with little white worms. YUM, YEP THATS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT IN MY TUMMY... WORMS!!!! 
Ugh... so horrible. Destroyed my appetite for a few days. Gotta love Eastern Europe! Now my appetite is all funky and I get stomach sickness a lot.. so yeah thats probably not the best sign lol. 

Hmmm, what else to say? This is the happiest transfer, mainly because of my companion Sora Mits and because its summer. Mits is a best friend for life, we enjoy every single day we have out here. We have AMAZING people we are working with... and we are constantly searching to find new people that are searching for us :) 

I was so inspired this week by the stories of Ammon and Aaron in the Book of Mormon, and their style of missionary work. Pure love and service... thats the only way to get anything done around here! 

Im so happy. :) Wouldn't change a thing! 

This Gospel is my light and my life. It brings literal sunshine to my soul. IM SO THANKFUL FOR THE BOOK OF MORMON FOR THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST FOR JOSEPH SMITH AND HIS WORK AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IM GRATEFUL THAT MY FAMILY CAN BE TOGETHER FOR ETERNITY. I look forward to the day that I can walk side by side with my Savior and cherish the blessings of eternity with my family. HOW POWERFUL IS THAT! The Gospel is true, and if you dont know that yet or if you dont agree, pray to feel the power and the truth of the message. Pray with all your heart. 

Thanks for all of the support and love. Thanks for my great friends who all returned from their missions this week. You are ALL examples to me of how to be a diligent and strong missionary! Im proud of all of you and greatful for your service :) 
I'll be joining you all in three weeks. Until then, God be with you :) 

Cu MARE drag-
Sora Draper 


Monday, June 13, 2016

6/13/2016 Week 72 Chisinau, Moldova


This week we had 4 baptisms here in Chisinau. Three boys and one girl entered the waters of baptism and joined our Russian speaking branch :) This whole weekend was just so warm and fuzzy. Everybody was glowing with the Spirit. Sunday we had an amazing fast and testimony. (It was changed up this month because of some europe wide broadcasts and conferences and stuff). I forced myself to say my testimony in the meeting, since I only have one more fast and testimony meeting left here in Europe, in July!... AHHH. 

So... I have GREAT news this week. We recieved a member referral (which is awesome, because that has been such a huge focus for us lately). This referral is a woman named Valeria, along with her husband and their year old baby. They have had mormon friends for many years, that live in Portland, Oregon. They expressed that they are ready and willing to learn the lessons, and that they will take whatever steps necessary to be baptized as members of the church. :) Guys...this family is AMAZING. Absolute pillar family for the church here in Chisinau. In fact, in our first lesson, Valeria proposed an incredibly prepared question for us. She asked: "Is there a way in your church, that after we are baptized and become members... we can get remarried before God? With a more sacred ceremony, in a sacred place? We want our relationship to be forever, in front of God!" We loved answering and explaining that one to her. :) One of the greatest teaching moments I have ever felt! These people are fantastic. We are extremely blessed. The moment we walked away from that lesson, I knew that they are going to be a very special family for our branch. We are so excited to see how they progress. They are amazing. They are excited to work towards baptism, and then even further.. to the temple! 

This week we made awesome headway with Christina. Had two very serious lessons about baptism and the blessings of it. She is praying for a specific date now, we call her and pray with her every night. She is more and more ready every week. 
I feel so good. :) We both do. Life is great here, we have wonderful people and we are so grateful for the miracles we saw this week. We are working to stay diligent and positive, and to always testify with sincerity to those we teach!!

I had two or three extremely powerful moments this week, where I got to do something that I have missed VERY MUCH. Here in chisinau, majority of our members and investigators speak ENGLISH.... ewwwww English... haha. So yes.... we teach mostly in English. Let me tell you guys.... I have missed teaching in purely Romanian. I miss testifying powerfully with Romanian words. Well this week... I was blessed with a few opportunities to truly testify to only Romanian speakers, and I felt that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with a true strong testimony of the truth. I LOVE THAT FEELING. I never want it to go away!!

So yes.. such beatiful, wonderful, and rewarding moments this week. I am so grateful for my mission. Its coming to an end faster than I can even believe. :( 

but I am excited to see you all in 5 weeks


Sora Draper

Monday, May 30, 2016

5/30/2016 Week 70 Chisinau, Moldova

What a change in pace this week has been. In such a great and positive way. After much worry and prayer over our investigators that seemed to be fading away, it seems like this week we have had a total comeback. Our investigators are starting to show a lot more progress this week, and we were extremely blessed to receive a new investigator named Alex. In every aspect, she is the "perfect" investigator. She expressed her desire to become a member, but that it will take some thought ponder and prayer. She is 18 years old, has such a strong testimony already of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. She even expressed to us a dream that she had not long before she met the missionaries, a dream that portrayed exactly what happens in our Sunday Sacrament service. When she told us about the dream and the significance of it, we then proceeded to tell her that is exactly how our service is. She started tearing up and you could see her eyes filled with light and understanding. She immediately said she knew that it was not coincidence and that this is the path she wants to take. She has already bonded extremely well with the YSA here and absolutely loved church on Sunday. We are continuing with the lessons this week and will most likely set her baptismal date soon here. She is truly golden, one of those rare miracle investigators. We are beyond grateful!!! We have seen how true obedience and desire can cause these miraculous things to happen. :)
Also, today, we are doing a district fast with our investigator Christina, who is praying about baptism. We did a prayer over the phone with her last night to start the fast. We expressed the power and purpose of the fast, and she truly seems to understand that this is a serious step that God wants her to make, and that she is definitely ready to make! We have come such a long way with her. These two are especially progressing great. We have a lot of new contacts this week that came from streetboarding with the Book of Mormon. We are looking forward to getting some new investigators. Things are amazing here, couldn't be better actually. I think right now this is a definite high point of my mission. :)
This week we got a new addition to the companionship..... an AUSSIE! Yep, we are in a trio now. Our third companion is Sora Mits, from Melbourne, Australia. The three of us are a complete powerhouse together. I don't think I have ever seen a trio ever get a long so well before. The three of us all contribute characteristics and strengths that make our work force so strong. Our investigators love the unity we have. This is the most busy, successful, exciting and happy period of my mission, I think the other two would say the same thing! 
life is awesome. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you all so much. And I can't wait to see you in 7 weeks

Sora Draper