Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 65: Another Transfer in Bae-rat


We didn't receive a transfer call so I'm staying in Berat! I'm so happy; I love it here. Motra Godfrey and I are having a lot of fun and we currently have a lot of friends to teach. This week was a pretty ordinary week - teaching lessons, tracting, etc. etc. but still a good one nonetheless. On Friday we did an exchange so I served with another sister, Motra Bland, for a day and she is probably THE SWEETEST person I've ever met.

One night we had a lesson with someone and I left the lesson very frustrated. This person never seemed to listen to a word I said and wasn't willing to change. That night I ranted about the person to Motra Godfrey and in my journal. Then the next morning as we were getting ready we were listening to a BYU speech and the speaker quoted the scripture, "if ye  have not charity, ye are nothing...". The words pierced me as I heard them. I realized that I was being selective to whom I had charity, which is not right... I need to have charity towards EVERY one. Since that little epiphany, I've been focusing and trying to develop the Christlike quality of charity. On Thursday we held English course and at the end for the spiritual thought I was impressed to share the Mormon message Enduring Love, which is a great example of selfless service and charity. Our students seemed to really like the video, and at the end of class one of the older men came up to me and said that he knew how the man in the video must have felt because he himself has been helping his paralyzed dad for the past eight years. He was very touched by the video and thanked us for watching it. I was so thankful that he shared his experience with me.

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all,.." -Moroni 7:46

Have a great week!

Motra Follëp

We took a road trip to Tirana because we lost our phone. Nice ride!

One of our friends gave us these smoothies -  apple, kiwi, carnation leaves, etc. etc. because she said it would make us skinnier

Just call me babagjyshi!

What happens when your comp is from Arizona. Motra Godfrey bought us a pet cactus!

Branch activity: volleyball. :)

We made a German pancake. Try this at home - they are so quick, funny looking, and good!

We upgraded to a flip phone!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Week 64: Ai Jeton


This week was a special one! I love the week of Easter; it's a nice time that we have to reflect upon the life of our Savior. On Friday Motra Godfrey and I hosted a fireside at the church for the Prince of Peace initiative. We got creative with it and had a great turnout! On Saturday we helped the youth with their family history so we went to the graveyard to collect their ancestor's names and information. We were searching for quite a while and it was pretty hot but we found ten ancestors! As we were walking around the graveyard I was filled with gratitude for the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that I have of life after death. I know that we can find true peace and happiness by having faith in Jesus Christ. I love the words of Joseph Smith: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!" (D&C 76:22) Because he lives we, too, will live!

We have two great new friends and they came to church yesterday. Their names are M and V. The elders tracted into M and she is a hoot.... she is super funny and has a lot of faith. V walked into the church last week when we were watching General Conference after she had found our passalong card on her door. She already has a solid testimony and knows that the Book of Mormon is true! I'm so excited to keep teaching these two.

Happy Belated Easter! Ju dua dhe kaloni mirë!

Motra Follëp

​Motra Lyng and I at Zone Conference on Tuesday.

​Some of the branch!

Branch soccer on Saturday. Don't question our shirts just embrace it.

We did some special Easter activities for Primary yesterday. :)

​One of our neighbors gave us vezë të kuqë - red eggs for Easter! Orthodox tradition is to only dye eggs red in remembrance of the blood of Christ.

Week 63: When You Wake Up With An Adam's Apple.


Well, I didn't know how to start this email so Motra Godfrey said I should talk about my Adam's apple. Yeah. I woke up one morning with an Adam's apple and it was there for a few days. I got some blood tests and all is well except the fact that Motra Godfrey calls me a man now!

This week we had sister's conference in Tirana, then Saturday and Sunday we watched General conferences. They were all SO good! When we weren't in conferences we were running around teaching lessons! We've currently been really blessed with many friends to teach. One friend that has really made an impact on me is E. He's the husband of our Relief Society President, A. When A was baptized a few months ago E was not supportive at all and almost didn't let her get baptized, but over time he started sitting in on our lessons with A. At first he was ashamed because he couldn't read, but we encouraged and told him that the Gospel is for EVERYone. We started teaching him the lessons and A read the Book of Mormon for him and the kids every night. He grew a personal testimony and started praying in our lessons. Then, fast forward to two weeks ago, we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he committed to stop smoking. To prove it he handed his lighter to A at the end of the lesson. She was beaming as he handed it over. E's been coming to church every week and it's like he's a member! We've been so excited for him to get baptized soon so that he could then baptize his son, P, in June, but plot twist... a couple days ago E decided that he needs to go to Greece to work for three months! We are a little sad that he is leaving when he was so close to baptism, but he said it'll be the first thing he does when he gets back and I know he will! E has made leaps and bounds in his progression of the church. It's so cool to see how much he has been changed because of the Gospel.

I know that this church is true. Over the course of my mission I've seen so many people's lives change for good because of the Gospel, so many that I have no doubt that this must be the Lord's way!

Javë të mbarë!

Motra Follëp

View from one of the church windows- someone's outdoor kitchen

WE'RE SO SAD the Dabell's are leaving us on Wednesday!

OKAY so cute they put their wedding pictures up with the Rome temple

Us, A, E, and P

For P-day today we played an intense round of Monopoly

Sister's Conference

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 62: The Healer's Art


This week was absolutely, completely, nuts! We held two big activities for the branch this week. On Friday we hosted an Easter Feast where we prepared a full course meal for about forty members and friends. Then on Saturday we took a bus to Osumi Canyon. It was about a four hour drive plus curvy, windy roads plus it was hot hot hot so all of the Albanians got very car sick. We missionaries were following behind the bus in our car and we kept seeing grocery bags thrown out of the bus windows infront of us. One of the senior couple missionaries, Elder Dabell, didn't appreciate the littering so he pulled us over to grab a grocery bag out of a bush. It was a bad idea, the grocery bags were just filled with smelly digested lunch.. if you know what I mean. Nonetheless we had a good time and saw some amazing views, pics attached!

Our branch president introduced us to a few of his neighbors so we met with them several times this week. They are amazing - L, A and T! Yesterday we held a special fast and testimony meeting in church and showed the Prince of Peace video before testimonies. L hopped up and offered her testimony when it was only her second time at church. The spirit was so strong as everyone shared their testimonies of the Savior. Oftentimes as a missionary, at least for me, church is one of the most stressful times of the week; therefore, this moment when I felt the spirit strongly was so special.

I'd like to share one of my favorite scriptures from Christ: "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." - 3 Nephi 17:7. Christ is merciful and He loves us all so much. When He was in Jerusalem and among the Nephites He healed people physically and spiritually and He does the same for us today. I know that Christ has the power to heal and improve us. 

Ju dua!

Motra Follëp
Laughing yet terrified. Two kids found a snake by our car so they started playing with it and said it was safe. They were cool so they let us hold it.​

Osumi Canyon

I love Motra Godfrey

This is A, whatta gal!

This was the climax of the road trip.

The Easter Feast! We tried to make it classy.

Some of the cool kids.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Week 61: Hot or Cold, Yes or No

Mirë dita! Si jeni?

This week we experienced a lot of highs and lows! I'll share the highest and lowest and let the pictures explain the rest.

In order to share my highest point I need to explain some background. Two months ago we were teaching our friend N about the gospel and she was "golden", but then we stopped by her apartment one day and she wasn't there. Her family said that she'd left for Italy due to a family emergency and they didn't know when or if she'd ever be back in Berat. That was a hard blow for me because she was my favorite. She was one of the sweetest ladies I'd ever met. Motra Godfrey and I kept sending her our mass scripture texts every night and hoped that N was able to at least read those where ever she was. Then on Friday.... N CALLED US! I couldn't believe it! She had just gotten back from Italy Thursday night. We met with her twice this weekend and she is just as amazing as before. I'm so glad to have my Berat bestie back in town and to have the opportunity to keep teaching her!

Now onto the lowest point. Yesterday after lunch we had four friends to meet for lessons but all of them fell through... so we decided to tract for the last hour of the evening. Both Motra Godfrey and I were dragging our feet a little so we decided to say a prayer for help. After the prayer I just let my feet guide us to an apartment and was saying a little prayer in my heart along the way to take us to an apartment with people that would accept our message. I walked up to an apartment and we knocked on the first door. The man that opened was probably the most unpleasant man I've contacted on my mission! He literally yelled at us and slammed the door in our face, so we shook that off and went to the second door. As we were talking to the person at the second door the unpleasant man opened his door again and started yelling at us again because I guess the first time wasn't good enough. We kept knocking in that building and everyone was nasty. As we walked away, I started asking myself... "Why was I led to that awful apartment building? I tried to do what was right by following the spirit. What did I do wrong? Why do I deserve this kind of treatment?" I thought a lot about it last night and wanted answers.

This morning I was reading in the New Testament as usual in sequential order when the answer to my questions jumped out at me: Galatians 1:10 - "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." As a servant of Christ, I shouldn't be so worried about what people think of me. Sometimes as I'm working I'll face awkwardness and social humiliation. But I'm going to keep working my hardest and not give up because I want to please my Heavenly Father, not men. I'm thankful for this amazing opportunity I have to do this work.

Have a great week, ju dua shumë!

Motra Follëp

This is our friend R!

Berat is SO. PRETTY!

​These literally look like poop and I always second guess myself when I order it but they are so good! Rice wrapped in grape leaves

We will start the church's Easter initiative this week. hashtag Prince of Peace.

Another Sunday lunch at the Dabell's, this week with surprise guests President and Motra Weidmann

​I'm not much of an artist but I made another Plan of Salvation set for teaching!