Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 22 - Kosovo - End of Transfer 2

forgot to send last week but this was sister's conference at the Weidmann's! All the Motras in our mission :) 7 are going home and 7 are replacing them this week.... I am training one of them!!! 
this is sis t ! she's from durres (Albania) and went through a lot to join the church.. she's amazing and so sweet 
this was from last wk too, got to see motra cheshire again, loove her :)) and her comp motra bezus is so sweet and awesome too!

this is sis Russel! she is amazing!! she's my mission grandma (she trained motra Z.) ignore my chapped lip/ cold sore hahah..

Albania vs. Armenia? (we didn't watch.. just walked passed..) 

 soo cool! today we got to learn how to make byrek and experience behind-the-scenes Kosovo bakery life... all the workers there are so nice and awesome and it was so cool and fun, and they let us all try :) I have some sweet videos of the byrek guy swinging the dough around his head to flatten it out etc.. def. a p-day to remember!

 brown rice at weekly planning is a tradition. last one!  

Hey Happy Easter! Have you seen the new Easter vid, "because he lives"? It's even better in Albanian ;) I highly recommend it to everyone, and #becauseofhim (Mosiah 16:8!) is still a timeless classic. Share those short, powerful videos with everyone and anyone you can. We've been trying to share it with anyone, from English student to new investigators to friends that come with to play futbol to anyone who accidentally stumbles into the church and has a minute to spare.



First, big news: Transfers! I will be staying here in Prishtine (yay!), and I will be TRAINING. (What? I just got here.) I am soo excited to teach and lead and work with some greenie fire :) Ah yes! Plus there are so many potentials and great people here that I've just met or have been working with so I'm so glad I get to stay with people I know and see/ help them progress! I find out who my baby is on Thursday! The tables are turned. :)

A highlight of this week hands down was a baptism for D, who was our referral to the zone leaders and ended up being their golden investigator... he was the poet we met on the boulevard (we found him!! not bragging just excited lol) and gave us his poetry books, idk if I mentioned him a while back? He's awesome and quit smoking and everything. I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost at his baptism and right before I was called up I could not find my paper anywhere, so I got up and gave it anyways, just tried to remember what I had written... it went fine shyqyr (would've been way better if I had my notes but, it was about D not me that day), and hey good practice for impromptu speaking and especially as a missionary just testifying always and often unexpectedly! AND, F, our investigator who IS getting baptized in Prill (as long as we can meet with her more than once a month..) and her husband (investigator who was dropped by the Elders when he wanted a business deal with the church, but still super promising) came and had a wonderful time.

Oh also we cut the crazy & so cute 3-yo son of our recent convert, S,'s hair (you might have to read that last part a few times.. kinda confusing when we're encouraged not to use names for safety reasons).. it was past his shoulders and he said he loved having it long "like Jesus!!" but decided he wanted to look like a boy, not a little girl, and especially to look like an Elder. But he wouldn't sit still for us to finish so he's a mini J-Biebz now :)

Another highlight of the week was an artist from Peja, K, who came in the church one day to show (& try to sell, and it worked because one Elder bought one) her paintings and we had a lesson with her.. she said she was a "modern muslim" so she believed in Jesus Christ and his atonement (? cool) and loved the Book of Mormon verses I shared. We gave her number to the Peja elders, and turns out the next day they were able to meet with her and her family at their house, and they're all on baptismal date..! Whoa. Are we in Brazil or Kosovo? But, kinda sad news.. Peja is being shut down (for different reasons..) but luckily Gjakova is close enough and we have a branch there.

This has been a great week, and a wonderful TRANSFER. I'm officially a "real missionary" (not a trainee) now, and not the newest out anymore ;) I'm so glad to be staying in this beautiful city because my work is not finished here and I want to give it my all!! do me thene pune nonstop gjithmone vella!

Wanted to end with two quotes I heard this past week that I really liked:

"Don't aim at success~ the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success... must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself." (Viktor E. Frankl; Man's Search for Meaning.. quoted by someone in district mtg., don't worry I only read the mission library!)

"Why do our smallest efforts matter? Because even our poorest, most pathetic little offerings can have a profoundly powerful effect upon the lives of those we love." (DeAnn Flynn.. don't know who she is tbh)

Ju Dua!!
<3 Motra Rajlli :*

like my new sweatshirt? ;)

April Fool's Email to Kosovo

Here is our April Fool's email to Madi. (I am not a dog person and Madi inherited/learned that trait. We can't stand it when a dog licks us.)   Madi's responses crack me up -- the fact that she isn't sure whether this is true or not. (I took out any personal contact info before posting here, but it must have looked official enough to Madi!)

hahaha WHAT? I still think you or dad wrote that 

On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM, Alicia Riley wrote:

you'll find out wednesday when the dog is delivered!

From: Madison Riley <__________@myldsmail.net>
To: Alicia Riley <_________@yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 8:47 AM
Subject: Re: letter from MP

hahahaha this is definitely an April Fool's joke? ....right?! 

On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:54 PM, Alicia Riley <________@yahoo.com> wrote:

Uh oh -- Look what we got from your mission president! I don't think you'll be overly excited about this new mission policy...but I know it will be for the best and will help to keep you safe.
Love, Mom

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Adriatic South Mission <201_____@ldschurch.org>
To:  _____@hotmail.com;  ______@yahoo.com  
Subject:  Safety precaution

Dear Brother and Sister Riley,

We wanted to tell you about an exciting new pilot program that the Church is trying out. In the interest of finding a way to ensure the safety of sister missionaries serving in less stable areas outside of the USA, the Church has assigned Service Dogs to be close companions with each sister missionary in the Adriatic South Mission. Motra Riley will receive her own personal “bodyguard” on April 1:  an adorable St. Bernard named Buddy. As part of the dog’s training and bonding, Motra Riley will need to sleep with Buddy, let Buddy eat off of her plate with her at each meal, and allow Buddy to lick and sniff her legs and arms with no restrictions. We have heard disturbing reports of sister missionaries who do not like to hug and/or receive wet kisses from dogs. We trust that Motra Riley will rise above such petty complaints. Because Buddy is a slow-moving dog, Motra Riley will be provided with a dog stroller to transport this 140-pound canine companion with her everywhere she goes. We hope this will help assure you of her safety.

President Louis W_______
+ 355 069 _______

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Week 21 - Kosovo

reunited w my motras! <3
my mtc sisters, love these girls!!

  fergon ride home! goin for the Rachel look

like this companionship pic?

me dashuni të madhe prej Kosovës

qysh jeni a jeni mire a jeni lodhe??
first off I have SO many pics from this week oh my goodness, so don't be overwhelmed, I just wanna show y'all how BUKUR Kosove and Shqipni are...
We were out of town for about half of this week because of sister's conference and spontaneous exchanges etc. and it was just a really great week, filled with missionary work and also just FUN.

We packed in as many lessons as we could before leaving to Gjakove and Tirane for a couple days and we ended up staying in Gjakove longer than expected which was awesome because I love going to new areas and doing work with the members and missionaries there (our companions went to Peje to help out.. I haven't been there yet, but hear it's a beautiful city!) and honestly doing missionary work is the best way to see a place because we walk all over and go inside people's homes etc.

A funny quote from the (catholic) produce boy at the grocery store (we had an unofficial lesson with him for a while; he was talking to us while working and when we gave him a copy of Libri i Mormonit to read the intro, he was so interested that he held the book with one hand and read while weighing fruits and veggies with the other), and later talking about USA because we're from there he said, "we have one God in heaven, and one God on earth: America" haha yess I love how much they love us here (thx Bill Clinton..!)

Tirana was so fun; love that bustling, bright place and of course soo great to see my mtc motras again and also meet all the other motras I'd heard so much about..! And the drive there and back was absolutely BEAUTIFUL wow, this has got to be the coolest place in the world. <3

When we came back to Prishtine after our little Albanian getaway it was soo nice to go street contacting again, and really, every time we just meet such awesome people. i.e. a Swedish girl's handball team and a Kosovar guy with an Australian accent b/c he lived there for 10 years and after I talked to him he said, "wow this is really great, now maybe I've found something to believe in" and a teen girl who grew up in England and has been here for 8 months but doesn't know Shqip too well and wants to know how we learned the language so quickly and we explained that it was only with help from God #giftoftongues but offered to help teach her (good thing our language materials are all religious! i.e. pamphlets) and one of our investigators, F, has been too busy to meet with us but came to church and is set on getting baptized (woo!) so we are doing everything we can to meet with her this week, and the branch here is solid and it is so amazing to see returning members and recent converts making huge positive changes and just flourishing in the Gospel, really.

I love this church and everything it offers me, especially the Book of Mormon, which I KNOW is the word of God because I've prayed about it and asked for myself. This is why I'm here in Kosovo, to share this book and gospel with people who haven't had the chance to know about this message of hope and true happiness. So yeah I'm just really grateful I've had it all my life, and I'm especially grateful that I actually appreciate it these days. Gonna close with my fave scripture (one of my faves... there's too many good ones), 2 Nefi 4:16~ Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord, and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in Prishtine, Kosove, and this Easter season I am especially grateful for Christ's atonement and everything that his sacrifice means for me; for all of us.
Ju dua shume!!
<3 Motra Rajlli
(Shko ne plazh per mua sepse kena bore ketu hala... bukur, por ftoft apo jo?)

we're finally going on a p-day trip (yay!) but last week was soo eventful and fun and I cleaned off my camera which means I have TONS of sweet pics hahah  Sounds like mary poppins was great and have a fun spring break, hit the beach for me :) 

district pic!

 sleepover with the macedonian cectras, love them, they are awesome and such sweethearts!

for Eliza! Love ya Zuster/BTF <3 <3  

 yeah like i said i went a little crazy with my camera this week

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Week 21 - Scenic Shots of Albania and Kosovo

cleaned off my camera=took lots of scenery pics.... isn't this place so beautiful?! 

Tirana!! (found out my camera has some cool settings)
black&white, cool right?

more Tirana.. LOVE this cool city <3 

 Albania the BEAUTIFUL 

more gjakove! (day-trip to cali?)

 p-day trip to valbona with all the kosovo missionaries! (aka snowball fight!) 

 valbona! up to my thighs in SNOW and it was so fun and beautiful and brr /
this is sis davis! i love her:) she's my stl in Gjakove