Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week 42 - Durres

eating SHARK! from the adriatic sea. sis Mema (American) cooked it for us, and their apt. feels like a cruise ship 

did I mention how beautiful this country is!? I just wanna come here and listen to the waves and write in my journal  

right before I met that snake btw 
came THIS CLOSE to a viper! jk not sure what kinda snake tbh but whew crazy 

Albanians are quite the recyclers! 

Albania <3  

window view: Shqiperia  /  helloo Durres 
sweet view/ roof of bldg we tracted 

coooolest p-day trip today !I say that every time but really, this place is amazinggggg and thank goodness for p-days that's all I can say haha  

feel like Eliza and Isabella with these yoga poses haha  

e hengra peshkeqene!
Hej! Oh man so much weird stuff happens these days. Sometimes I make a mental note to mention to you guys on p-day to give ya a glimpse of (missionary) life in Shqiperi, but then I'm like nah, it wouldn't do it justice so why bother? But, I'ma do my best to describee..

This past week was packed with finding aka testifying and getting yelled at/ rejected and really appreciating polite/ civil responses. (It is so frustrating when I hear people out even if what they're saying is ridiculous, but the second I open my mouth they interrupt/ cut me off/ talk over me. So rude. Not to mention, we have the answer to their questions/ concerns! If they would only give it a chance; just listen.) We tried the music- street contacting approach again, this time violin and singing while Elders talked to people. Not too successful, but the street we chose seemed to be a popular hangout spot for the elderly so I figured we could at least brighten a nice older lady's day with a song~ "I am a child of God" is usually a crowd- pleaser. So I stopped a nice- (and very old-) looking lady and asked if we could sing to her but oops didn't realize she was a very devout Muslim and when she found out we believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father, not just a mysterious/ all-powerful mist, and that we are his children, not just his creatures, or creations, she was very upset and went off at us, wagging her finger and shouting and hopping up and down (Rumpelstiltskin? jk) and we didn't get a chance to say much else because she was making too much noise but I guess our calm reactions surprised her and before she left, when she'd simmered down a little, she told us we were nice (but, "misinformed"). 

Also, a naked, heavier woman answered her door and all she had was a washcloth around her waist like a loincloth, explained that she just got back from the beach but we didn't stick around too long, just handed a #sepseaijeton card (yep still using those btw, timeless vid.. go re-share it to fb!) and moved on to the next door. I must say, I really prefer tracting to street contacting! Maybe because I've always liked seeing peoples' houses (nosy?) but it seems way more effective to me because if people show any sign of interest we know where to find them again (poor them! jk). But at least out on the street people are dressed lol.. pros and cons. 
I have a lot of pics that will explain other stuff. 

Also dad, the other week you mentioned that often missions are "95% drudgery with about 5% thrills", and I have to admit I've found that to be true lately, but then I remind myself that I didn't come out here for the "thrills", I came out here to preach the gospel to these amazing Albanians, whether they think they wanna hear it or not! ;)
Speaking of amazing ALbanians, I loove our ward and members here, they are all so cool and nice and strong and constantly impressing me with their faith. <3 <3 

I've been reading through King Benjamin's addresses in personal study lately, packed with truuth. In Mosiah 2:25 it talks about how we mortals are nothing in comparison to God's greatness.. not gonna lie, I prefer the emphasis on our divine nature and potential and individual worth (#YWvalues ha) but Sister Davis shared this quote with me from Brad Wilcox (Sis. Ariza knows him, fun fact haha) that explains it perfectly; "Without God, we are nothing...Nothing doesn't mean worthless...it means powerless. We are powerless without God...Grace is not the absence of God's high expectations; it is the presence of his power."  (emphasis added ;)) I know that this is so true and I'm really grateful for the Gospel, which is the same Gospel taught by Old Testament prophets, Book of Mormon prophets (i.e. King Ben!), Jesus Christ himself, and all 80,000 of us full-time missionaries throughout the world today. 

Good luck teaching seminary mom! and feel free to send me any great lessons you use because I bet the people I teach would appreciate all your insights too! Oh also, my comp and I loove Elder Dale G. Renlund's talk about change/ saints are sinners who keep on trying (#thxrobertlouisstevenson) and we constantly quote and discuss it. Anyways Shakespeare's quote (from his play "As you like it"? stood out to me; " 'twas I; but 'tis not I: I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing that I am." Made me reflect a lot on how I've acted/ treated people, and especially what a terrible teen I was..but the thing is, I am ashamed to look back at how I was.. but I like to think that I can also confidently say, "'twas I, but 'tis not I"..idk, maybe that's why I love that talk so much, because it is optimistic and all about second- chances/ enduring to the end, and isn't that the core of everything we believe in? "Our greatest glory lies not in never falling but in getting up every time we fall." 
I love you guys! If anyone has a favorite motivational quote, please, send my way haha can't get enough of those ;)
Ju dua, ju puthiiii ju kam loqke ne zemer gjithmone :) <3

Motra Rajlli... Madi:)

oh, PS: I ate SHARK !!!!!!! Officially not even vegetarian. :( Missions change people ha if ya haven't heard.

oh, and Isaac~ dang, TE SHKUARA wow glad you and the German Freundin are doing sehr gut.. schreib mir mal 'was! Rachel, pac fat w/ school and everything and writee mee dude and Josh, good luck with highschool ah and CHINESE haha guess we're kindof a multilingual fam? 

made this cake for a member's bday, borrowed a lighter from a cun off the street and carried it up to her apt. but she wasn't home and by the time we got there the candles melted into it and the frosting caught on fire  

this guy is cool and showed us pics of the 1st missionaries ever to come to Albania (20yrs ago actually) in a little album he carries around in his pocket  

this cutie had her 19th bday.. mission time!? 

primary kids are my faaves
Lagja e Durresit haha ah I love these peeps 

 bishop's son's got a nice bowl cut :) 

& xhaxhi 

little did we know, the 1st floor of a bldg. we tracted was a SLAUGHTERHOUSE check that knife on the floor  

and a river, believe it or not! 

ok so our stove doesn't work and we don't have many dishes which means I got a little creative, whipped up some chili in this cake pan, baked in the oven lol 
it was SO YUMMY I have to admit :) for breakfast too lol my meal schedules are so backwards these days. I wanted to make your roasted chickpeas but don't have a can opener or soy sauce haha 

hi sis Davis! rockin my shirt ;)  /  po bejme trokitje 

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