Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 11 - Kosovo

a mujna mu taku hala..??

(the subject is gheg for, "can we still meet with you?".. in tosk it would be, "a mund të takohemi akoma?"... oh speaking of email subjects, funny that I mentioned 'clean eating' last week when tbh I've probz been the farthest from clean eating this past wk with trying new Kosovo foods and slowly becoming not 100% strict vegan but we'll see ha and def. still veggie. but just thought I should mention that so I don't feel like a hypocrite hahah). Anywayzz

Mirë Dita, ç'arë bona, Prindërit? 
Së pari...(don't worry not tryna write it all in Shqip), we have two new investigators!! In case ya don't realize what a big deal this is for us, lemme tell you about our week up until Friday. :) 
Ever since I'd been out (a week lol), EVERY single lesson fell through, besides visits with ward members and recent converts. It's uncommon for people to stop and talk to us, let alone give us their numbers, let alone actually answer their phones when we call, let alone have time to meet with us. This past week we had over ten lessons set up, with new contacts from the Boulevard we find at every evening. Every. single. one. cancelled on us or just never showed up, and it was discouraging and frustrating. We were working hard; staying out in the freezing cold when we were tempted to take breaks and go back to the church to warm up; ignoring rude comments and creepy çuns ( çun=boy; guys here remind me of wolves b/c they travel in packs and just stare with their beady little eyes) and xhaxhis (=uncle, or old man...i.e. the other day one wouldn't let go of my comp's hand instead of just shaking it, and pinched her cheek and tried to find out where we live ew and when he went to shake my hand I pulled my hand away so he was just holding my glove... but btw the Elders are usually close-by when we're kontakt në rrugë at night so we feel pretty safe) and mostly just putting so much effort into trying to meet people and share our message; it really is exhausting emotionally as well as physically. We were both feeling a little down, but at the same time things happened that showed us that our efforts were not in vain; we are doing so much more good than we can see, and honestly we never know how much a simple friendly conversation and encouraging pass-along-card can do. Some more men we met on the street and referred to the Elders turned out to be some quality investigators, and two of the men I had met and referred were so excited about this church that they brought along friends to their lessons, who seemed to be equally interested. We work a lot with recent converts which I love; I think it is so important to build up the branch we already have.

On Friday, during our marathon weekly-planning sesh, Motra Zallënxhër and I reflected on our week and our efforts and decided that we would be positive and upbeat and as hard-working as ever no matter what (one complaint=hold your breath for 10s haha whatev works), and after this resolution, we were especially friendly and happy while street contacting that afternoon, and we met N & V! Two girls our age (18 & 20) who go to school here in Pristina but live in another city. They had some time then and there, so we ended up going up to the church and having an impromptu lesson, it was great! They are Muslim, as usual, but V seemed very interested in what we were teaching and offered a beautiful closing prayer (I said opening!), and N liked the similarities with things she already believed in i.e. prayer is communicating with God, definition of a prophet, etc. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and will meet again this afternoon, so we'll see how that goes!

Meeting with these two sweet and sincere girls was definitely the highlight of my week. We also had a referral from the elders, S, come to church with us. She had spent a year in Cali as an exchange student so she had lots of questions on common misconceptions i.e. plural marriage, garments, etc. and she seemed bothered by the fact that we separated for classes (relief society and priesthood) after sacrament meeting b/c she is kind of a feminist so I gave her a copy of the Family: Proclamation to the World before she had to leave in a hurry, but it was awesome that she came to church, and had researched us (we gave her the church's websites and explained to her that it is always best when researching a religion, to read stuff written by people who actually belong to and believe in it).

Some other highlights of my week were teaching English course, which I love (it's pretty different than the immersion kindergarten class I had in Russia), and we played soccer on Saturday with some members and investigators, which was so fun and competitive/intense because Futbol is taken seriously here in Evropa!. I always thought soccer was just Eliza's thing, but I actually had so much fun and scored two sweet penalty shots on the #1 player, Isaac woulda been proud haha.

Oh and there are these sweet identical twin girls our age who come to English class but are soo busy because of school/exams/etc. (they're both studying music, and were surprised when I told them my twin and I are studying different things and go to different schools ha!) They are sweethearts and we hope to have a lesson with them if they can ever make time! They loved seeing the pic. of me and Eliza (grad. announcement).

We had zone conference, which was so fun, I loved it. Actually I played piano for it, good thing I have about 4 go-to hymns if anyone ever needs a pianist.. tryna add more to the list;) The zone leaders are in our district and I really liked some of their advice, i.e. only speak Shqip when we're outside, out of respect for the people as well as way good practice for us, and also reminding us not to say that we are serving in a "hard area", because every mission is hard (and I am sure that's true, and also every mission has quality truth-seekers who are ready to be taught now...no matter how Muslim they may say they are when we first meet) and we got Thai food after, yum, and it was just really fun to talk to/meet the missionaries from Gjakova and Maqedoni.

Well, I'm sure there are lots of other things to mention but this'll do for now! Write me! ;) Love you! Read Alma 26! XOXOXOXO Madi/ Motra Rajlli <3 

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