Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 17 - Kosovo

 sufflaqe in Tirane! EVERYONE talks about them so I tried one, but pa (without) meat and kos (yogurt sauce).... so kinda not a real one but it was pretty good! it's like a doner w/ fries on it. (I miss your good food mom! but kinda fun trying weird stuff here )

 long walk to a lesson=photo opps 

 sweet view right? worth walking an hr and a half each way (plus it was such a nice day)

 Prishtine, Qyteti i bukur! (the beautiful city)

 oh this is old from in Gjakove
 on the way to germia park (p-day) deserted outdoor pool, TENNIS COURTS 

 germia park

Ç'a më bo
Qysh jeni, si kini qenë? A jeni mirë, krejt rahat? 
Hey! This past week was amazing. I think I just fell in love with Kosovo... this beautiful city, nice weather (mënëfund!) and most of all the kind, loving, great people that make up this place, members and nonmembers alike.

Tuesday was Kosovo's independence day and the shesh (boulevard) was a big party. Lots of booths selling flags and balloons and cotton candy and t-shirts and traditional clothing, and lots of music and dancing and roma boys singing and playing drums, I was totally kenaqen. Plus it was so crowded and more people=more potential investigators am I right?

I love teaching kurs Anglisht over here (soo different from my kindergarten classes in Voronezh tho) and one day our class was full of little Çuns who everyone just sees as troublemakers and kicks out of the church the second they walk in but motra Z and I taught them and we were firm but loving and they ended up being so cute and honestly they just wanted some attention/ someone to listen to them recite their English alphabets and little phrases, amazing what a little love (& discipline) can do! And another day at English class we had the usual college and school aged girls and a new student: an older lawyer who was a total beginner, never too late in life to learn!

We had been trying to get a lesson with one of our members, D (fun fact my Shqiptare friend Alma from byui lived with her here in Prishtine for a little while), who is awesome but goes to the village on the weekends to help her sickly parents, so we decided to go visit her... she works as a nanny for the branch pres.' fam so we walked to their house to visit with her... we knew their house was pretty far but we didn't realize it would take over 3 hrs round trip (a lot of hills..) haha... it was so fun, and such a nice day out and we saw some sweet views, def. worth it :) We shared a RS message so we like to say that we were the first visiting teachers in Kosovo, ever?

Really, this past week especially I met/ got to know better some awesome Kosovars, and just realizing that this transfer is over halfway done made me realize just how lucky I am to be in this upbeat, unique place, so rich in history and culture. 

Nënë Z and I were both even more motivated to give our all to this punë misionare after having interviews with Presidenti Vajdman, and our hard work didn't go unrewarded! (I have to admit, I have felt like that at times.) Last night, after a mtg, we went back to the apt. for an hour of lang. study before planning/ bed etc. I had thrown on some PJs when Motra Z told me we needed to go back out and street contact. It was raining and not many people are on the streets on a Sunday night, and I had just changed, so I wasn't as eager as I should've been to go back outside. We went down to the boulevard, where we met a couple girls who we chatted with but they were not interested, and besides them there were only a few groups of Çuns and xhaxhis (boys and old men). I felt like we should head to the nearby hotel to finish up our finding, and about 2 min. after we got there, we met our new Investigator! N, she is amazing: a friendly, eager-to-learn, CHRISTIAN (catholic) Sociology student, who was able to come with us to the church and watch videos of Christ (#becauseofhim & #heisthegift...go watch them again*, aren't they great?) and have a lesson with her, and she is eager to learn more. It was a really powerful experience for us; Pres. promised us that if we truly make our goals the desires of our hearts they will indeed happen, and we both couldn't stop smiling afterwards.


Yeah, there's a lot of non-Christians here who are not at all interested in talking about Jesus Christ, let alone Joseph Smith/Thomas S. Monson, but there are also plenty of people who are so ready to hear our message, and it's exciting/humbling to be one of the people to share it. 
AND we are working with a lady, F, who is getting baptized in March. :) 
Also, lately I've been having so many doctrinal questions, and our Stake Pres. Mema from Shqipnia said missionaries have tons of Qs because they study so much. It's true... the more I learn, the more I realize how much I really don't know. 

Oh & we taught institute the other day.. go read/discuss D&C 101:8&16 and watch mormonmessage "hope of God's light" ( and translate it all into Albanian, and you'll feel like you were there :) (Learning to not care about the approval of others as I attempt to speak & teach në Shqip, me shumë gabime gjithëmonë por skagjë sepse po perpicem!)
Ju dua! Kalofsit bukur, fare. <3 
Me Dashuni, Motra Madi Rajlli :) 

ps things are totally safe and fine here, i forget we even had protests! no worries, seriously 

the other week I was reading "how to be a consecrated missionary" by elder callister and felt like it was written specifically for me because everything mentioned was something on my mind recently. our RS usually has 3 women plus us.. a lot less nerve wracking when we're asked to teach last-minute :) 

I asked about mass migrations from Kosovo: yes it is crazy, seems like everyone is trying to leave..! but sounds like it is so hard for them, their visas only allow them to go to albania/maqedoni/montenegro I guess?? they all want to go to USA aka lotsa marriage offers for me.... and of course they want to go to Deutschland b/c it is amazing there! We know :) 

<3 madi xoxoxo

"it's like a symphony..." name that song (hint: I shook his hand at the mtc) 

Disneyland Prishtina!

& sweet view right? it's so beautiful here 

our elders and hehe nene Z is fun(ny)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week 16 - Kosovo

Dita e Dashurise?

comp luv 
be mine? ;) haha whether she likes it or not... 

Moter made tons of chocolate-covered strawberries, I was in charge of decorations 

Allo Familjen time, qysh jeni, a jeni mire? Qysh po kaloni? A jeni merzite, a jeni lodhe? Gjithcka mire? (Haha Albanian greetings=tonsa Q's and no time to answer)

1st, happy Valentine's day! Moter and I organized a ysa party (most of our branch and investigators are ysa-age/college kids) because we figured it would be a great way to get our potentials and investigators and English students in the church and making friends with the members, and also for members to bring friends to a casual and less-intimidating and more fun church activity, so my comp. and I put a lot of work into making it happen and making it great. You can imagine our disappointment when hardly anyone showed up. I was feelin' a little bummed, but we ended up having a handful of nonmembers come and a couple returning members who had been impossible to reach stopped by at the end, so I'd say it was still a success! (Plus it's always so important to strengthen the members, esp. in such a young branch)

A highlight of my week was going down to Tirana on Tuesday for halfway training, I love that crazy city and so fun to see my mtc group again! So worth getting up at 2am for a 5-hr bus ride :)

Also, I don't wanna say too much and make you think there are problems when there really aren't, but a few days this week we were told to stay inside the church and wear normal clothes and no tags.... felt soo weird and as you can imagine, I am SO glad that everything is back to normal and we can go outside again, and go finding!

We still had a lesson every day this week besides Tues. when we were gone, def. a blessing and def. see the hand of the Lord in my life/ mission right now. If you need a solid, feel-good scripture, read in Alma 5:60 and 62, so often when I'm reading the Book of Mormon in the mornings, I wonder why some of these verses aren't quoted more often because they're all so. good. (And Ether 12:4 is one of my faves)

We went to the Bodells house yesterday (Branch Pres, works for U.S. embassy), and they are such a cute and perfect family with the most beautiful and well-behaved little kids, so fun! :)  And President Mema from Albania came up and spoke to us last night. He is awesome and seemed like he said something that every person in the room specifically needed to hear.1st Albanian apostle..?
I love the members and branch here, and once again, I am feeling so lucky to be serving in Prishtine right now. It is beautiful and cool and exciting over here, and yes sometimes it is hard but if it were easy it wouldn't be worth it, right?!
I love ya all, brace yourselves for some picss I'm aboutta send! Write mee :)) 
<3 Motra Rajlli xoxoxo shpresoj se Dita e shejn Valentines ishte nje dite plot me Dashuni per juu <3 

dad remember when we would go to these doner places in Stuttgart?

 she never takes normal smiling pictures with me haha 
 tag again! 


 sweet house right?
 explored a little more of K0s0v0 today 
Embassy trip with these mtc friends :)   loved seeing my group again at greenie training in tirane :) 

valentine's day! a nice guy in our branch paid for our thai lunch! 
the Bodells are from AZ so, Mexican fooddd :) 

&wait I have so many more pics for ya from this week but, gotta go so talk to you next week love you mom!! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week 15 - Kosovo

found the cutest juice bar in Gjakove, I would love to serve here just so I can go there again hahah.. and also for the awesome members :)
I love Nene Tereza <3 hey read her poem "anyways", it's my new fave

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
&yummm right? our fave ;)
and this is Motra Betinger, she is Canadian and vegetarian and such a sweetheart :)  /
went to a little  bday party 
this is in Ferizaj, looked cooler in person I thought haha
and the sunset one is just Kosovo countryside, an hr away from Prishtine
these are the tooleys, a cute senior missionary couple serving in gjakova who took us to bondstill! they're funny :)
and we had "institute" with these army guys who also come to our branch in Prishtine. Thought of you, dad! Try and get deployed to Kosovo?

krejte rahat?
Hey, how are you guys?! I am doing good and taking precautions to stay safe (&warm lol!) these days, so don't worry about me. :)  A highlight of this past week was an exchange in Gjakova!
I forgot to mention but last week we had zone conference there and it was really great, President Weidmann came up and everything, with his daughter who just got back from serving in Temple Square and is so nice and cool and I loved chatting with her in German.  (And we got to watch Meet the Mormons! Among other things, that movie makes me want to visit Nepal and try out kickboxing and be a mom. Haha it's so good though right? Use it as a missionary tool, get people to watch it because it is very well-done and should clear up so many misconceptions.)
Anyways I went back there on Thursday! I didn't know I was going, but when the STL's got to Prishtine they asked me if I had my stuff and was ready to go.. I told them to give me 5 min:) I really had a great time there, and learned from Motra Betinger who is on her last transfer. And of course it was just super neat to serve in a completely different area. Street contacting was way different but I enjoyed it and it also made me appreciate how many more people we have to talk to on our boulevard. I had a great time but I am so glad to be back home in Prishtine :) <3
Oh and on Tuesday we got to go to the army base Bondstill which was cool!
Wednesday there was supposed to be a huge protest but, nothing happened because of rain. (And also because of some changes to the government.)
Tomorrow we go down to Tirana for a training meeting! I'm so excited to see my mtc group again :))
Also, most importantly, this past week we had some really great lessons! The work really is picking up here, and while it's still hard to consistently meet with people because of busy schedules etc. (we meet with a lot of university students), just being able to testify and discuss with open, eager-to-learn, quality people, really makes it all worth it. And while it's a rule for us not to teach guys for safety reasons, we still have plenty of referrals for the elders (lucky them) who seem to be doing great and quite a few have been coming to church and institute etc.
I was reading in 3 Nephi ch. 11 which is always a good read; Christ's visit to the Americas. Just in these past 6 weeks being out here, I've learned so much more about Christ and his role as our savior and redeemer... Elder Holland's talk "the mediator" sums things up pretty well! I don't think I ever realized just how essential the atonement is for every single one of us. I am so grateful for Christ and everything that he's made possible for me.
Just want to wrap things up saying that I love you all and thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has written to me because it really does mean so much. <3
Ju dua shume elle do flasim javen tjeter ne dita e pergatitjes patjeter si gjithmone:) shpresoj qe kete jave do jete nje jave shume te bukur per ju. Zoti ju bekofte!
<3 Madi :) 

from my exchange in Gjakova on Thursday! pretty dang different from Prishtine. The STLs just moved to a new apt. there and it's so nice; lotsa hot water, heated floors etc..
and borrowed an Elder's blender so I can make smoothies woo
internet cafe selfie w elder rawlings from peja