Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Week 46 - Durres

<3 Vendi im (love my country)

got to see my college friend Alma Osmani menefund!!!
w/ her fam, her bro got back from his mission to Australia just 2 wks ago

Tirana & fam pic

the Hydricks came down!

Julian the singer! and his awesome fiancee Arta

Elder Baum (recognize him, Eliza??)

waitin for the BUS takin us to conf.

 Familja ime, pershendetje, ju uroj shendet, paqe e gezim gjate javes... (According to Google Translate: My family , friend , I wish you health , peace and joy during the week ...)
We had Stake conf. here this past weekend which was a big deal! 2nd EVER for the recently- organized Tirana Albania stake. (I was in Prishtina for the 1st one but this time around Kosovo was invited! It was fun to see some Prishtina peeps again, and shoutout to the Morina sisters who weren't able to make it but ju dua! <3)  The general authority who was scheduled to come (Jose Reina) ended up getting sick so instead we had one of the area 70s, Elder Baum come and speak to us, which I was so happy about because he is Dutch! #Eliza. Actually before the meeting I shook his hand and he said he knew me from somewhere and turns out he's met Zuster Riley! (Actually in one of his talks he mentioned that when they have missionaries over for dinner and a lesson sometimes their broken Dutch is so difficult to understand that he wonders how their investigators can understand anything but it's a powerful reminder that the Spirit is the true teacher etc.. so Eliza I hope you weren't included in that jk) During the leadership training which we (Durres missionaries) were invited to he talked all about the remarkable growth of the church in his hometown Rotterdam and I especially enjoyed hearing all about it because my wombmate's been serving over there for the past year and a half! ;) 

I loved Elder Baum's emphasis on simplicity and hard work/ priorities and also building up the church in your homeland, which is def. important to mention here in the Adriatic South where it seems that everyone's eager to get out in hopes of a better life. They don't realize what they have! He also reminded us that if we want to avoid making mistakes we better just stay home and stay in bed because it's when you get up and get to work that you start to make mistakes because that's a part of life etc. and it's through our mistakes that we learn and grow (also a very true point when it comes to tryna learn Shqip haha). Always uplifting and encouraging and just warms my heart/ reminds me how much I love this gospel, being surrounded by fellow Latter-day saints listening to inspired leaders, especially here in Albania with these incredible people. <3 

There was a choir performance and the finale was "I have seen him" by a famous opera singer from our very own Durres ward! And my comp. accompanied piano for him and I lead the music lol so I can add that to my resume ;)

 We have some very solid investigators right now, esp. F, whose passion for the Book of Mormon just makes me excited about missionary work.. she carries her Book of Mormon with her everywhere and reads with her family (who we will soon meet with) every night etc. She is awesome. And L, is still reluctant about baptism but reads daily and has great faith and is amazing and sweet and we had the most amazing picnic lunch with her (prepared by her, she is the cutest!) when we went to her hometown for a lesson there. Talked about Esther because courage is something she def. needs to face her traditionally- Muslim fam and take the plunge! (No pun intended ;)

This past week especially, I've just been thinking about how incredible this mission is and how much I love it and am soo lucky to have this opportunity to be out here doing this and of course how wonderful and true the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is, and how blessed I am because of its influence in my life.

Lately Charity and the commandment to Love One Another (amad a otros! ;) has been on my mind because really if you ask me, demonstrating genuine respect/ caring for everyone is the essence of Christlike living. My comp and I were talkin about this b/c generally we think we're pretty good at this or whatever but then we're disgusted at ourselves when we laugh at someone etc... always room for improvement; as President Kimball put it, "the cultivation of Christlike qualities is a relentless task..."  As the late George Albert Smith stated, "I would be a friend to the friendless", or to quote Maya Angelou, "try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." I challenge whoever is reading this to go out of your way this week to act and react the way Christ would.

Juu dua shume! jashtemase, gjithmone e pergjithmone :*
Motra Rajlli :)

ps- thanks for the camel pics dad plz keep them coming haha and 
mom, I'd love any fun seminary ideas to incorporate into lessons and 
Isaac send me basic Russian stuff you give your mtc students plz and 
ZUSTER RILEY finish strong just like you did with all your cross-country races and 
Rachel thanks so much for the fun socks and necklace, which I am currently wearing and drink a smoothie for mee :( and 
Josh thanks for the... entertaining pictures and awesome letter! love ya allllll <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 

hey mom! can you please send me some fun seminary scripture games/ activities? us missionaries are trying to jumpstart a ward-institute type weekly church activity/ class and I wanna use some of your seminary ideas :) also did Eliza ever serve in Rotterdam?
also I had a dream that my 1/2-bday padded envelope came haha

tracting w/ motra bezus ( maybe you email her mom?)

looved seein my bb sis Ariza! <3 <3
just going to Albanian school! google translate the wall, she's vegetarian too btw :) 
("If you punish the animals it's like you punish yourself")

cuuuutest picnic EVER w L!!!
who's Madison?? ;)

& Tirane
I know, it's ridiculous how many pics I send home :) but here you goo merry Christmas;)
bishop's son

F our awesome investigator gettin baptized right after transfers! 

a returning member who makes me smiiiile b/c so...enthusiastic about comin back to church

like the mtc map pic mom ;) / 
this is Xh gettin baptized so soon and so cute w/ our ward clerk

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