Thursday, May 25, 2017

Week 69: M's A Miracle!


This week was a good one. The time is seriously flying by

Something Albanian: In the words of Motra Godfrey, just because she explains it better than I ever could... "We were on the bus this week and it was pretty full-not full enough where bodies are touching, but full enough to know no one else is wearing deodorant. So, we are there just riding the bus and this man gets on with a big burlap sack. I think nothing of it. Then, we hit a pot hole and a goat pops out of the bag and starts making goat sounds. I was taken off guard. The bus man is like "What are you doing?" and the guy is like "I need my goat." and the bus man is like "You can't have animals here." and goat man is like "I get that, but I need my goat." Bus man and Goat man make an alliance. Now everything is okay..except the goat keeps squirming around in the bag, so goat man straddles the goat's neck in between his legs. I swear I thought this goat was going to die. Finally, the goat chills out. Then, a lady with a stroller runs over the goats leg. The goat goes wild. Goat man maintains his scissor hold on the goat's neck. Our stop comes. As we get off, the man in front of us kicks the goat and goat man was livid. Luckily, the guy in front of us was a quick little sucker and no one was harmed. I love the bus." Same girl.

Something unfortunate: I lost my voice the past couple days. Hopefully it'll come back soon because it's distracting in the lessons. I sound like a man. One of the members said I sound like the Albanian Spongebob. I think if the Albanian Spongebob sounds anything like this I will never willfully watch it.

Something marvelous: M got baptized! Woohoo! We took a little bus to Lushnje where she got baptized in a font. We thought that'd be easier for her than the river. She had to go down in the water three times.. so clearly she was super blessed! It was super cool; yesterday after she received the Holy Ghost in church we walked out of the sacrament room and she started excitedly telling everyone about her conversion. It really was a miracle. She had smoked for thirty-five years and was never able to stop. Then we taught her and didn't know what we could further do to help her stop smoking. We just prayed and prayed and prayed. Then she got really sick for a couple days... and after she got better she said that she never wanted to smoke again; she was sickened by even the idea of having another smoke. Because of that change she was able to continue and get baptized! Reflecting back on M's conversion I can see that it was a miracle that she was able to quickly stop smoking right when the Lord needed her to. It was because of her enormous faith. She's such an amazing example to me.

Love you lots and have another great week!

Motra Follëp

We were tracting and spotted this amazing staircase. It made my day.

Tuesday was Motra Godfrey's 20th birthday! She got these red noses in her birthday package so we celebrated Red Nose Day along with the celebs :).

We made three of these brownie cakes for Saturday!

​President Xhindi took some selfies for us on the furgon

Turns out M has babysat one of our members, P!

​Us and M <333

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 68: Thrust In Your Sickle With All Your Might

Mirë dita!

Motra Godfrey quote of the day (from about 5 minutes ago): "It's only the second week of May and we're already sitting in puddles of our own sweat. On a scale of 1 to 10, how screwed are we this summer?" Berat is hot but it's poppin. The friends we are teaching are doing great!

We only have four less active members in the city since the church is so new here. This week we FINALLY made it into one of the less active's doors after a year of attempts from the missionaries. We had a great lesson on improving our relationship with Heavenly Father by prayer, reading the scriptures, and church attendance. Then the best part.... she briefly came to church on Sunday! She is so sweet and I hope that slowly she'll be able to get her foot back into the door of the church and allow the Gospel to bless her life.

The other day it was raining so we stopped by a little shop to buy an umbrella. The store owner lady was there that we've talked to many, many times. We were just being friendly as usual but for some reason that day was different and she totally poured out her heart to us. She invited us up to her cafe upstairs and told us about her 5-year-old nephew with serious health problems. She invited us over to her grandma's house a couple days later where she introduced us to her nephew and whole family, immediate and extended. Many of them didn't know much about God so we simply offered them a prayer. It was their first time praying and it was so special.

Saturday we drove to a village and worked in their bean and potato fields for a couple hours. It was so fun and a nice break from our usual work, but... there were so many unavoidable beetles! As we were working Motra Godfrey and I had ponytails full of beetles. Then they brought us some homemade bread and cheese and we sat in some tall grass to eat. Someone asked our friend R, "Are there snakes here?" He just laughed, paused, and said, "Well, yeah!"

Yesterday I Skyped with my family for an hour! It was so nice to see everyone and it really made me excited to get back home. At the same time though I'm so happy here and I don't want the time to end! This year and a half is such a precious time and I don't want to waste any of it. How thankful I am for this time of missionary service, my family and my Savior!

Kaloni bukur këtë javë!

Motra Follëp

V gave us a GIANT tomato! Whatta lady!​

Saturday we were working the fields in Hoxhaj. There were mountains of olive trees surrounding us it was so pretty!

Trying to look tough but I really just look like the grumpy cat.

​Mom would be in heaven here.

​We went to Tirana today and passed the fanciest treg ever. They just built it in the area I used to serve!

Fam Skype yesterday!!

Plus Mads since she's fam. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week 67: Life's a Gjiro


Something Albanian: If you ask an Albanian, "What have you done today?" 99% chance they'll respond, "Hiç. Një gjiro." meaning, "Nothing, went on a walk." Summer is in full swing and Motra Godfrey is not happy. She's from Arizona and she's never experienced humidity in her life. She says she's suffocating. I'm embracing it, I love the summa.

Something funny: It's a tradition that guests should not leave the house empty-handed. So this week on our way out the door our friends have given us a pair of shoes, shampoo, and a giant tomato the size of my head.

Something marvelous: Eight of the friends we've been teaching came to church yesterday and thirty-seven total came to church! The sacrament meeting room was completely full. We had more people in church than we'd had in months!

Something spiritual: Very often in our lessons our friends spill out their hearts to us; they tell us everything that's wrong in their lives. My heart is often heavy for them.  This week in a lesson our friend was telling us about a major hardship in her life and she said, "Where's God in all of this? How could He let this happen to me?" I was at a loss of words because I could not feel for her; I hadn't had to go through the same horrible thing she has. I pondered her circumstance and her questions a lot over the weekend. I wanted to know what I could say or do to help her. I fasted for her. I read a scripture that gave me a lot of peace and one that I shared with her yesterday: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4. I know that the trials we face in this life are only temporary. God loves us so much and He doesn't want us to suffer. He simply wants us to turn to Him and "doubt not, fear not."

Have another great week! Ju dua shumë!

Motra Follëp

It's official, I'm coming home! Tirana -> Vienna -> Frankfurt ​-> PHILLAY on June 29th.

So picturesque. So Alternative. Elder Harris

Beach bummin.

​I thought of dad when I saw this :).

Today we went to Durres!

"Make it look like you like each other."

We went to brunch with these cool kids.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 66: I Love to See the Temple


This week came and went quickly. We were running around teaching and we didn't seem to have enough time to meet with everyone we wanted. It's was stressful but a good problem to have nonetheless! Yesterday we had six friends come to church. The work is continuing to move along!

People always stare us down on the road because we stand out a little. Sometimes it's distracting because I'll be contacting someone on the road and other people stare me down... sometimes, they'll stop walking and just stand there and stare. Albanians are not used to hearing their language with an accent. So I've never really understood how we stand out that much, but now I totally get it because a lot of backpackers and tourists are coming through on their holidays and I can spot them from a mile away with their pale skin and shorts. They are usually Germans and they always know English. I love tracking them down and talking to them.

Three of the youth from our branch went to the Switzerland temple last week. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice for them to go. There were a lot of documents, family history work, and money, not to mention a sixty-hour bus ride to get them to the temple and back! Yesterday they returned and shared their testimonies in church and they were so powerful. They learned so much on their trip. One of the youth said when she was in the temple it was like a dream and that was the only way she could describe it. My appreciation for the temple grew hearing their testimonies because they went through so much to get to the temple and in turn they were blessed beyond measure. For me personally it's been pretty easy to attend the temple and I never want to take the opportunity for granted. I know that the temple is the house of God and is truly like heaven on Earth.

Have another great week!

Motra Follëp

This is A and we've been teaching her for the past month. The other day before our lesson she whipped out her latest masterpiece, inspired from a Restoration pamphlet!

"Pose and make it look like I'm asking you a question." - M. I was deaddd.

This is Marie, we have been teaching her for two weeks now. She's a hoot.

A member, A, made us dinner one night. These are her sons, P and K. I love them.

Our branch president and his mom invited us over for dinner as well! We were blessed... it was the end of the month aka end of money so these dinners were inspired.​