Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 43: Gezuar Diten e Falenderimeve!


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We celebrated it well here in Albania. We had a mission conference where all of the missionaries came to us here in Tirana. We ate American food, performed skits, and dessert-off'ed. Our week seemed packed with fun activities! Then Friday Motra Holt and I went to a member's home where she taught us how to make homemade qofte and byrek (traditional Albanian food). She had really loud Popullore music on and danced as she cooked; it was very entertaining. Then Saturday we drove ontop of a mountain for lunch for a ward activity. Finally today we went on an adventure to Kruja which is a city an hour north of here! We checked out a sick castle and explored some ruins. 

Something Albanian: Motra Holt and I were just walking here to the internet cafe and there were two random shark heads laying on the sidewalk....

Something Marvelous: we were calling and calling the plenty of numbers that we had for potential investigators but no one was accepting lessons. So we were finding a lot this week and praying for more committed, solid friends that we could teach. Then some missionaries sent us a referral to a family. We went to their home for a first lesson and it was amazing. They said probably five times that we were the answer to their prayers because they just moved to Tirana and had been praying for a church to go to. Their big family came to church yesterday! We are so excited to be able to teach a family. Also our friend E just got back from Milan, she came to church yesterday and she's ready to get baptized on Saturday, so we're preparing her for that this week :).

Something Spiritual: Watch this video the church just came out with - it's a kickoff to the Christmas season! (It's there on the homepage.)

Love you all have a great week!

Motra Fulop
In the clouds

Be the sandwich

Today and tomorrow are independence day it's going to be nuts

The Kruja castle!

It was a little chilly  
Pretty but rainy

Fun fun

Thanksgiving lunch!

The view was sooo pretty

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 42: Singing Kumbaya..

Ç'kemi! How's everyone?!

I don't have too much to report this week! Motra Holt and I have really been trying to find people that are prepared for our message, so we've been out on the streets trying to talk to everyone. We're also really focusing on less active work because there are soooo many inactive people here in Tirana. That leads me to my highlight of the week! Saturday night we knocked on a less active's door and she warmly let us in. It was pretty chilly out that night and when we got into her little cement flat it was even colder, but then she took us into a tiny room where their family was gathered around their oven for warmth! We shared a spiritual thought with the family and sang a few hymns with them because they really loved to sing. The grandma and sister-in-law were really into it and they were just visiting for the weekend from Greece but they started asking a ton of questions about the church. We gave them a few verses to read from the Book of Mormon and they loved it! It was such a nice visit with an unexpected finding opportunity.

We also got together with all of the missionaries in Tirana and sang for a retirement home. We did a Christmas program it was a nice kickoff to the season. Finally, I was on an exchange with Motra Hall and we had a lesson with bff E after English course and she offered to take us out for hot chocolate. She took us to the top of an observatory that overlooks Tirana, and it just so happened to be the night of the super moon! We sat up there and taught her the Plan of Salvation over hot chocolate, it was perfect.

Something funny: I just reached into my bag for my camera and I found a pomegranate instead. It's been sitting there the past four days. Whenever we leave someone's home it's tradition that they don't want you to leave empty handed so they give you a piece of candy or fruit. We're always loaded down with fruit in our bags!

Have a great Thanksgiving week! I'm so grateful for all of you!

Motra Fulop :)

We had to get a little creative because someone has been stealing our food from the church refrigerator. "Don't touch. Don't steal. Mosiah 13:22."

​Fun exchange with Motra Hall :)

Just for fun! This is Albanian Lek. It's pretty easy you just move the decimal place over two places and it's almost directly converted to the American money value. For example 500 Lek is $5.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 41: Inspirational People. Goals.

Përshëndetja to all!

Motra Holt and I had an amazing week! We had a lot of first lessons and we have high hopes that a few of these people will become solid investigators that we can consistently teach.Our one friend, E, is doing great. She's such an inspiration to me. I would like to share something that she told us at the beginning of a lesson the other day. A little background - E works with blind people; many of whom are young adults in their 20's that were blinded from war blasts in the late 90's. E walked into work the other day and upon her arrival she stood their silently and offered a short prayer before she started working. A few of the blind people noticed that E had entered the room but wasn't talking, so they asked her what she was doing. She responded that she was praying before she started working. They pleaded her to pray for them to receive their vision back. E readily agreed and offered a prayer with them. Wow, when she told me that I felt the spirit so strongly. E is such a strong, faithful example and a light to everyone around her!

Our mission president has been having back problems so he had to fly out to Switzerland for surgery last week. We did a mission fast for him and it all went well, now he's coming back this week! Our mission president is the coolest. He texts us a spiritual thought every morning and they are so. good. There was one I wrote down in my journal the other day that I really liked:

"'We should not assume that just because something is unexplainable it is unexplainable.' - Neal A. Maxwell. Dear Sisters and Elders I am so grateful for the love of my Savior and for His wonderful Plan of Salvation. I sure don't know the answers to every question or why things happen the way that they do, but I know of his love and I trust him that his promise is true when he said 'Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, He shall reveal all things - things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the Earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof - things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the Earth, and upon the Earth, and in Heaven.' D&C 101: 32-34"

I would like to testify that I know these things are true! We don't need to worry and stress about everything because the purpose of our hardships, trials, everything, will be revealed to us. There is a purpose to everything under the Heaven! So, as my mom has always told me... let Go and let God! 

Ju dua shumë, jave të mbarë!

Motra Fulop :)
Bestie from Vlore, A, came up to church on Sunday <3

Swamp zones - fun to walk through.

​It rained 24/7 this week.

Street dogs but soooo cute. A mom and little puppy :)

Motra Bennet finished her mission last week (tears)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 40: Many Miracles & Changed Hearts


We've been busy this week, which is always a good sign as a missionary! A few of the highlights...

We've been continuing to teach our friend, E, and she's amazing! She has now made it a priority to come to church every week. She's in her 60's and she walks an hour to get to church! Also she's introduced us to her granddaughter, A, who's 11. It's pretty fun to be teaching her. I was thinking about it the other day, and it's like the roles have switched. I remember when I was around her age learning from the missionaries!

We watched 17 Miracles Friday night which was amazing! It's a movie about the Mormon pioneers crossing the country to settle in Salt Lake City. All of the women sitting around me were commenting and laughing and balling. Albanians have very loud personalities; I've come to love it.

Something funny: Everyone thinks that Motra Holt, my companion, is Albanian! Apparently she looks like it. Anyway I usually start off conversations with people on the street but they can tell right off the bat that I'm not Albanian so they look to Motra Holt to start talking. Motra Holt gets a little panicked (remember she's only been out a month) and then they realize we're both foreigners. I like this pattern though because it's giving her a chance to talk!

Something marvelous: We were walking to a lesson on Friday and we decided to stop by our friend, F's, little food cart for a short lesson. We emphasized church attendance and how it's a commandment of God. She said that it was impossible because she can't use her right leg; it'd be really hard for her to walk from the bus to church. Then we read with her 3 Nephi 17:7 - "Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy." This really touched her! She said that she will try her hardest to make it to church. Her heart was completely changed from the beginning of our conversation.

That's all I got for this week! Ju dua shume kalofsh shume mire!

Motra Fulop

The struggle. I had fun zipping around with this penguin thingy.

We went ice skating today and the rink was completely empty :).

We got a little ahead of ourselves and decorated our apartment for Christmas already....

Fun exchanges with Motra Risk!

We need help.