Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week 39 - Durrës/ djersë

e mrekullueshme 
check out that view! love my cute companion :) 

heart-attacked a couple member friends' doors BUT one person we're 99% sure it was the wrong door so I guess we made a stranger's day! besides the personal notes w/ the girls' name 

I LOVE this cute, adorable little girl who lives in Germany! Visiting family here, and def.a highlight of my week is seeing her at church <3

H! cutie/ awesome member fam and thanks so much for the huge lunch, A! 

loove these awesome siblings! their brother is serving in our mission right now!! (Elder C- Gjakova)
A made us a huuge lunch even though they had over 30 relatives coming in town that night. Wow talk about charity/ service/ just straightup thoughtful 
 such amazing members, Lagja e Durresit te dua :) 

best part of Albania besides amazing investigators/ members and cheap fruit: abandoned buildings to explore on Monday! 

I love sister Davis! p-day "hike" in this heattt :) 

District pic! before Elder Rigby heads back to Maqedoni after his "vacation" here

 more Albanian food (I love the greek salads and melons all over the place, but as far as the people who cook for me are concerned, I was never vegan haha)

Hej si jeni, ju duam shumë. <3 
This past week? Incredible. So hot and exhausting and longgg but packed with so many amazing people and cool/ uplifting/ testimony- building experiences that more than once I found myself thinking, I love my mission, I am so blessed I get to serve here, I never want this to end... etjI also felt completely worn-out and inadequate a few times as well, so it was cool to see that any time I felt a little down for whatever reason (usually this weather and feeling super tired... not complaining btw! just tryna be honest) not too long after, something awesome would happen i.e. we'd run into an awesome new investigator or friendly member or someone would feed us or I'd read just what I needed to be reminded of during studies in the morning. 

Our new investigator, F, is absolutely amazing! I met her street contacting a couple weeks ago and gave her a card with our # and she called us a few days ago, and we met, and she is so cool and smart and open-minded with such a sincere desire to find the truth and serve/ live accordingly! Our second lesson we brought along B (Elder Lesi's sis.) and turns out they are childhood friends!! Hadn't seen each other in ages so that was sweet, but this also ended up being the longest lesson of my mission I've ever been in.. nearly 3 hrs!! And then the next lesson with F, she brought along her cousin and she basically ended up teaching him restoration and testifying of the Book of Mormon/ importance of praying about it to know for ourselves etc., yeah she's so awesome.

Also got another awesome and prepared new investigator, D, a kind professor who has studied religion and accepted the invitation the be baptized after a great first lesson yesterday.. probably the smoothest lesson I've had since I've been out. Btw, it's refreshing not being a trainee or trainer because it doesn't feel like there's anything holding us back from just testifying sincerely and teaching clearly/ bouncing off each-other evenly. Sister Dejves has great object lessons and little stories/ analogies to spice up our teaching, and I've seen them all a million times by now haha but for each new lesson they're just as engaging for our investigators! 

Speaking of sister Dejves, she is so sweet and I love serving with her because we have great deep conversations on our long walks to appointments, but also because when she thinks something's funny she laughs so hard and can't stop and then it makes me laugh hahaha so fun. 

Had a great exchange with sister H, who usually serves in Maqedooni but has been in Vlore for the past month, she is suuch a solid and hard-working missionary! And she has great taste in food so ever since our exchange with her I've been craving your sweet potato/ black-bean chili mom..  

I love visiting with our members, hiked up to the C's and loved singing hymns with them after lunch and an interactive lesson.  

Yep it's soo different than Kosovo.. for many reasons, but one is the receptiveness of the Albanians here concerning the gospel! I really appreciate all the sincere besimtare I get to meet. It's been hard getting those of other faiths to understand the importance of baptism by the proper authority! As in, priesthood authority. Also many of our investigators don't feel 100% ready for baptism.. I love that they want to make sure they have a testimony of these things for themselves, but I also remind them that when we're baptized we're just taking the first step and from there we continue to learn and grow and improve. 

I'll end with a quote we used in many lessons this past week that's helped me so much : "God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than who we once were. He cares that we keep trying." We've all done dumb stuff that we regret, but we all have access to the enabling power of the atonement, which means positive change and looking forward, not back. I am so grateful for this! !

<3 lotsa love, Motra Rajlli/ Madi :) xoxo 

former- Motra Tengu (who's Klaudia?)

sneak-peek of the Vlore beach! 

those round turtle shell-lookin things are bunkers btw! (post-communism.. )

loove this baby (son of one of our awesome investigators, E)  and he hates wearing diapers btw lol 

evil eye to ward off evil spirits (doesn't mean I'm Muslim, no worries)

our friend P introduced us to her pet duck (btw here in Durres clothes are optional.. European thing, plus it's super hot) 

using what was left in the cupboards, whipped up a (tomato) empinada, Motra Ariza be proudd ;)

thought you'd enjoy these mom :) but haha the first one I'm the only one not looking -_- 

these cute sisters in our ward! the older one plans to go to BYU soon! After a mini- mission/ The younger one reminds me of Rachel a lot sometimes :) they are awesome, and so is their mom! (& their Gjyshja, who loves Elder S who was my DL in Prishtina ha I heard alll about how she insists that he baptize her, and now I've seen it for myself)

wrong church but still pretty 

wanted a candid comp pic here ha but no photographer.. so here's one half of our companionship

spoons after fhe with this awesome couple (members)!! soo fun :)

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