Thursday, December 25, 2014

Week 8 - Christmas Eve in the MTC

 rainy temple walk, I enjoyed talking to Brother Leifson (branch presidency) on the way up, who is in his 80s and served in Finland back before the MTC or language training existed so as you can imagine he had some cool stories 

I love Motra Hoover! (mom you probz feel like you know her bc her blog ha), & Motra Hoopes! Fun fact they were comps for Motra Hoopes's last and Motra Hoover's first transfer 

 hahah isn't Elder Medveczky entertaining for pics? You should see the one where he wrapped himself in the Albanian flag like a babushka scarf 

wouldn't be Christmas without a stocking! ;) thx mom #crafty 

E-mails received on Christmas Eve: 
Krishtlindjen është...NESËR.. do të thot koha të festoni ?!

Përshëndetje fam çkemi and talk to you tomorrow!!! Fun surprise right? I guess this is the first time missionaries in the MTC get to call home on Christmas, yay technology. <3 And hey how many missionaries can say they get to call home on their Birthday? ;) 

Well, this is my last email home from the MTC, I believe! Woo goin to SHQIPERIA so soon and as you can imagine I am starting to get so excited! (Don't think it will fully hit me 'til I'm on the plane..)

Of course I miss all the fun family times/ traditions i.e. homemade gnocchis on Christmas eve & doorbell-ditching w/ treatplates & caroling & playing "brass band" at rest homes & acting out/ reading the nativity story & sleeping out by the tree & our long newsletter & all the sibs' choir/band concerts & looking at lights etc. etc. and celebrating my (our) birthday w/ Eliza in the afternoon at 4:40 & 4:46 haha. But honestly, I am excited to experience the holidays here at the MTC because I have heard quite a few times how great & magical it is spending Christmas here so I don't think I'll be disappointed. :) 

THANKYOU soo so much to everyone who thought of me/ sent cards/letters/notes/pics/stories this past week, and especially for remembering my birthday (& Christmas!) at this hectic time of year!... I def. hit the jackpot when it came to getting mail this week, and what better way to end my (longgg) stay at the MTC? So kind and thoughtful & very much appreciated. <3 <3 (I will do my best to reply to errbody no worries! But in case it takes a little bit, just wanted to say THANKS so much. <3)

To end on a spiritual note, (since I am a missionary!) .... 
It's a pretty popular chapter, but if you haven't read it recently, I recommend you to go read/study/take to heart Alma ch. 32. The whole chapter (not only verse 21!) is full of really helpful definitions of Faith... we read it in Albanian as a class and I really appreciated it because sometimes I wonder how strong my faith is when I don't fully understand every single doctrine, or am bothered by really insignificant (insignificant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ) things... but as we are clearly told; faith is not to have a perfect knowledge, but to hope and believe and learn and grow and feel.... and thank goodness that's the way it is, because we don't need to make the idea of faith any harder or seemingly more unattainable than it actually is, because really, faith is such a fundamental principle that while it is one of the most important, it's also arguably the easiest. Christ is ready to receive us and help us out, but it's up to us to believe in him just enough to reach up/ cry out for help when we need it.

I am truly grateful for Christ's humble birth, so many years ago. And while we remember this beautiful nativity story around this time of year, let's also remember that this little baby born in a manger, our savior and redeemer Jesus Christ, is very real and he lives today and is there to encourage and guide us every day of our lives if we just let him.  
<3 Motra Rajlli (Madi) :) 

ps~ mom thanks for spending Christmas in the hospital 20 years ago so I could be born :) (& Mary Elizabeth... HBD btw, Zuster!)

pps~ send me more of Isaac's mission updates if you get a chance, please?! Unless you're burnt out from the photo book hahah. And mission updates from dad back in the day are always greatly appreciated! 

haha aw joshhhh y'all gonna be home tmrw afternoon/evening? i forsure wanna say hi to the sibs too, please make rachel do dishes or something if she doesn't talk to me:) hahah. 

aw hey fam merry christmas, eat some gnocchis for me:( thanks for all the mail!!!! my journal is looking pretty awesome with all the fun clippings you send <3 

cool I met zuster castro (Eliza's current companion in Belgium) in the mtc, she recognized me from Eliza's blog lol 

we thought my comp. had pneumonia so I had to walk her to the hospital (in the snow and freezing air ha) but she's fine. love you talk to you soon!! <3 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 7 - MTC photos

 us again

 twins are so cool 
motra white, my lil Binjak! (binjak=twin btwz) also our comps were matching 
 lots of our zone at temple walk
 & the ones with our arms up is us trying to do a basketball pose haha since we have a reputation for playing aggressively (prisonball? lol MTC is comparable) 

vellai najt left to go home to TX for Christmas so here's us saying bye to him and we gave him Christmas presents (re-gifted candy & random stuff from packages i.e. whoopee cushion and harmonica)
hahah oops you can hardly see him in these. but we love our teachers!!! 
 thanksgiving dinner haha & thanksgiving night lights
ok here's oldies from my comp's cam & here's our faces morphed together (her camera's fun) 

Week 7 - MTC

mirë mëngjes

heyyyy whatsup, once again up bright and early to do some laundry/email because p-day and my companion likes to get up at 4:30 am!!! 

ah thanks soo much for the temple photobook, I LOVE it! Rhyming and everything? So cute :) Also brings back so many fun memories. You are the BEST thanks! (Also I saved some presents for christmas ha just opened a couple early since moving to a new dorm for my last wk here so deciding what to pack). 

oh some highlights from this past wk:

-got to host new missionaries yesterday aw I remember when I was new ;)
-had cectra Barch as our temp. comp. since she's solo, she's goin to Macedonia a week after us!
-BYU MEN'S CHOIR sang to us for devotional Sunday night, they were so great!! Did some entertaining international christmas songs i.e. traditional African & New Zealand (they all did the haka!) 
-Tuesday devo a Swedish couple (general authority & wife) spoke to us, I was excited b/c I loove Stockholm
-still singing alto in the MTC choir 
-sang "nat e qet" (silent night in Albanian) with the district in sac. mtg. 
-still teaching our investigators and skyping natives and really enjoying speaking Shqip 
-still like the MTC a lot but getting soo readyy to gooo... in a WEEK! (& 1/2.) Travel plans today yee

Love ya fam! Stay tuned for some pics later! 

Motra Rajlli :) <3  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 6 - MTC

oh hey fun fact starting today/now we are tryna only speak Shqip! Shume veshtir por qejf :)  
 here's pics of your Hungarian penpal & his shok. He's an awesome district leader to us Motras and his testimonies (in a thick accent but very good English) are very inspiring
 & these are with Elder Baltimore, from our FWB stake! He just left to Nicaragua, we left Florida/ reported on the same day 

 Elder Medvecski loves his stocking! "Your mother is so kind", he says..."she is my missionary mom". 
& Nativiti since you like my stick ppl drawings lol. Don't be fooled! This was after hours of conjugating verbs & memorizing prepositions. 
 & I love my stocking :) lil taste of home/christmas & of course just fun to decorate/be festivee 

Distrikti i dashur!! 

më shumë për këtë  

Përshëndetje Prinderit, Çkemi! 
Haha tbh the subject of this email is just the number sixteen written out but thought it looked cool! (Oh and fyi, last week's subject, I spelled wrong so the correct word is gjysmë, or gjysëm which means half bc halfway mark at the MTC.)

Hmm nothin' too crazy this past week here at the Missionary Training Center! Just another week in paradise...... haha seems like ever since I hit my 6-wk mark I've been gettin more & more eager to go to Shqiperia already but most ppl are like that their second day here so I'm glad I still really like it here for the most part! And even though I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable with the language, I still have a lottt to learn and I'm sure day 1 in Tirana will be a rude awakening! 

Por Shqip është shumë qejf, më pëlqen. Edhe Motrat she Elder janë mirë she Ushqim nuk shumë keq është. Edhe Krishtlindjen (edhe Ditëlindjen për mua)!! Ne do të kemi një shumë mirë ditë. <3 
(Gonna take a break and send a buncha pics, as usual, and then finish this update.)

And ps I already told ya mom, but THANKS SO MUCH for the Christmas package, suuch a fun surprise made my week. and all the cards/decor?! I (and so many others i.e. district) love all the fun stuff you send! and I love all the cards from each fam. member<3 thanks!!!!!!!  <3 <3  <3 loove and of course have 'em all hanging on my wall. And The notes and dried fruit from the Asmuses?! So sweet thanks so much :) <3 Love you all! And shoutout to my new penpals, aka the Niceville ward activity day girls! ;) And the missionary memes haha?! SUCH a hit, hung 'em up on our residence door and we're right by the bathroom so we always have sisters admiring them on their way out. 

Oh, devo this past Tuesday was soo wonderful! Pres. & Sis. Zwick spoke to us and they were both just really good speakers and pretty blunt about the importance of obedience, staying away from danger (when it's in our control) etc. and obeying even when we can't understand why it's important. Good stuff for us missionaries headed out soon! And we had a guest performer: 12-yo Lexie Walker, have you heard of her? She's famous and recently sang in Carnegie Hall and for Pres. Obama etc. and she's tiny but has this amazing voice and she sang us I am a Child of God, O Holy Night, and I know that my Redeemer lives. She is soo talented and cute and her accompanist on piano was soo talented so it was just a really great surprise and so cool to have them perform! 

Last Friday evening there was a fancy Christmas dinner for all the branch presidents and their wives, and the choir came in at the end from different doors and surrounded the tables and joined the guest institute choir and sang Silent Night (aber nicht auf Deutsch) so that was fun, and Christmasy. <3 
Ju dua!!
Motra Rajlli xoxoxo 

  thanks soo much for finishing up my Russia photobook, and sending me a copy! it was soo fun to look at and relive so many fun memories and made me miss Russia but also get really excited for Albania. If its quick and easy for you can you plz send (email?) some Estonia pics to show my friends in my zone headed there?? They wanna see.

Love you!  Madi

Here's a clip of Lexi Walker, the amazing 12-year-old singer who sang at the MTC last week-

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 5 - Gjyshtë

Çkemi fam!

This past week was filled with some shumë, shumë mirë speakers. Perks of being stuck here (but I actually really like it here lol) for 9 weeks? Get to hear from the best of the best. (And my halfway mark was this past Sunday wow almost time to head off to SHQIPERIA). 

I'll start with Thanksgiving. Definitely way different than any other, but I was so pleasantly surprised because it was just so different from any other day here at the MTC, and so fun! We had David A. Bednar speak to us, and he did a Q&A with us. I was in the choir so if the broadcast is online, go look for me! 2nd alto ;) He is really great though, and I wished we would have had longer because I liked what he had to say and he brought up some points I love, i.e. science isn't necessarily 100% foolproof; when you're scientifically proving something you're just taking away all the options that prove a theory wrong in order to prove it right so to some degree there's always a little part of it that may be wrong (that's what I got out of a comment he made) and just how we always think of science and religion as complete opposite ends of the spectrum when they are actually intertwined and help each other out (I'm sure a few people disagree with that idea haha!) (Oh a question that I've always had, concerning the fall was brought up... why would God give Adam & Eve two conflicting commandments/ why would he forbid them to do something but when they disobey it turns out to be a great thing etc.. he gave a great explanation about how it wasn't disobedience, it was a CHOICE with of course consequences and I understand it a lot better but dad (& anyone else) what are your thoughts? I value your dry council opinion.) 

And speaking of questions, this past week a couple of our teachers let us ask questions and we went through them as a class and I LOVE that because even if I "know" an answer I learn so much from others' insights and also it is just mind- blowing to really think about where we come from/where we're going... I guess I don't often let what I preach sink in, but it's pretty huge. And when it comes down to it, if I can't answer every single question I have, that's okay, because we're not supposed to know EVERYTHING; gotta have some faith right?

(Back to Thxgiving)  .... for lunch we had a thanksgiving cafeteria feast #greenbeans #yams (are hashtags still a thing?) and it was fun talking to the international missionaries during their first thanksgiving awh! Expressing gratitude isn't unique to North Americans but our traditions are! <3 Haha thanksgiving dinner was sack lunches (aka fruit + chips'n salsa party) eaten sitting on the floor in the hallway by our classrooms with our zone. Motra White and I (love her! from SoCal, my COMPETITIVE basketball buddy) tried to get a little turkeybowl started with our zone but it was hard to tackle each other in skirts inside.. it was fun while it lasted (<2min). We got to watch Meet the Mormons! Soo good! Also watched it again Sunday night, I love it. If you haven't seen it, go watch it asap, and esp. show to nonmember friends b/c it should def. clear up some crazy misconceptions. And Thanksgiving night christmas lights were up in the MTC courtyard! The most wonderful time of the year <3 <3

Haha but speaking of basketball with Motra White? I think I've mentioned, that's my fave thing to do at gym time because we get such a good workout in and we totally foul/beat each other up but we both agreed it's worth it since it's so fun haha.. but yesterday while playing (3-on-3 with Elders but us sisters just guard each other) I glanced down at my hand and it was covered in blood! Hahaha ew but it didn't even hurt, I think she accidentally scratched me, and she has all these bruises lol.... hahah anyways, about missionary work & the daily grind here at the MTC:

Lessons are still going surprisingly very well; Motra Cheshire and I are getting better at being "evenly yoked" and when we plan/prepare well beforehand, we don't have to use notes etc and are actually able to discuss/ have good conversations and teach what we want to and I really love that. But it's def. not only us; Holy Ghost plays a big role.

Okay this is soo long sorry I'll be brief but ah Sunday we had some GREAT speakers: For RS we had Sherri Dew, who is AWESOME and answered questions I didn't even know I had, and our devo that night was BYU's vocal point! So fun!! And they ended with "nearer, my God, to thee"... das my jamm! ;)

And Tuesday night? David F. Evans spoke to us and he was also really good. We watched the #sharethegift video also... go watch it right now and #shareit! :) Neat to talk about as missionaries because we share this gift all year round, not just in December.

(Oh also I updated my prof if ya wanna check that out, but don't look at it if you speak fluent Albanian, Russian, or German, because I tried to bear my teatimony in each of those briefly but was rushed and am sure there are tons of mistakes haha watevs, tryna make it a little more interesting!)

 (I can't find her new profile, but here's her old one)

Oh and yesterday morning we skyped this awesome Albanian named Endrit and it was really fun and he told us he wasn't a member so we got scared to teach but joke's on us b/c he's been a member for 13 yrs. Shyqyr! Shakaa. Our teacher said he told her we were ready to go to Albania wow, I wish, but thanks for the compliment Endrit!

Okay hahah this is soo long but enjoy it b/c they'll prolly be way shorter once I'm over in the Adriatic South.

PLease, anyone reading this, write to mee:) I'm a pretty good penpal ;) I hardly have anyone's addresses (email etc. too) otherwise I would totally be the first to write! (And send me fave scriptures/ quotes/ insights & ideas for teachings/ ideas for ab workouts lol, if ya have any?)

Ju Dua!!!! Merry (lol "Madison"*) CHRISTmas/ Gëzuar Krishtlindjën!! 

<3 Motra Rajlli  

* Explanation about "(lol "Madison)" :  when Madi was about 3 years old, she thought it very unfair that everyone said "Mary Christmas". Her twin sister was named Mary. So whenever Madi heard someone say, "Mary Christmas," she always responded with "Madison Christmas!" 

Week 5 - photos of Thanksgiving week

some of our zone (on the far left wearing glasses is Dietrich Elder, my German buddy) 
love my motras <3
with Hermana Zaugg, and my Scandinavian friends! (from Norway and Sweden)  
and w/ pres.&sis. nally (mtc pres.)
My Micronesia friends! (I lived in Guam for 2 yrs, remember?) 
Hermana Mikolajcik!!!<3

my friend Sadie (goin to SoCal) from BYUI mish prep,  
& shoqen
sister training leaders (Finland-bound), they are sweethearts.
thanksgiving dinner, and lots of memories with these motras in this classroom 

(lol my hand) after b-ball, 

bye love you, thanks for everything! tell everyone hi and to please write me :) <3