Saturday, December 12, 2015

Week 58 - Christmastime in Albania

shepherds and sheep 
and wise men/camel.. haha recognize the costumes? let's just say i have enough scarves and sweaters to spare
scenes from our zone nativity.. the camel 
narrator, Mary, Joseph... we wanted everyone to have a part so there were a couple trees 

decorated our house, and the church <3 <3 haha sister Eliason and I joke about (make fun of?) typical sister missionaries, but we totallyy fit the stereotype oh man.. baking and singing and crafty and getting excited about cute Christmasy stuff, and interactive trainings at zone conf.. :)


From Madi's companion's update:

The Christmas season has begun and MR [Motra Rajlli] and I are SO pumped! We have started all the festivities and are really getting into it. Yesterday we went caroling at the town square with the Elders and one of the members. Also, Tefta's niece and nephew came! They are so adorable. We were waiting for the Elders to come so we asked the kids to help us be missionaries. We gave them some pass-along cards and they passed them out saying "Hi! This is for a video for Christmas and it's about Jesus!" They were not scared at all and it was so adorable! Then when the Elders came we sang some Christmas hymns in Albanian and English while Elder S talked to people. People loved it! We had one old lady who came up to us and started talking about how they sing the same songs at her church. Then she stood right in our faces for about 10 minutes listening and she was so cute haha As we were walking back home, the little niece said she had never felt so happy in her life! The spirit of Christmas is real. 

Then afterwards, we went to a member's house and made snickerdoodles and read the Christmas story from the Bible. We sang Silent Night for them in Albanian, except afterwards the mom asked us why we were singing in English... I guess we need to work on our American singing accents haha 

Last night during language study I realized I hadn't had a haircut in almost 8 months so I voiced that to MR and she offered to give me a trim. An hour later I'm sitting on a stool in the kitchen and she's cutting my hair with some kindergarten scissors haha It looks good and feels so much better!

Motra Rajlli and I gave a training again this week at a Zone Training and we did something unusual again! None of our trainings are normal haha We decided we needed to bring the Christmas spirit (side note: the day before in Tirana one of the Assistants to the Presidents called us the Energizer Christmas Bunnies haha) so we wore Christmas sweaters (mine was bright red with a massive cat face on it), put on some Christmas hymns, and handed out Christmas shaped cookies and mandarin oranges. Then we proceeded to act out the nativity with costumes and everything! We had shepherds with towels and a camel and some sheep using some large, second-hand xhaxhi (old man) sweaters and a baby Jesus made out of a bag of oats and a star and some trees. It was so fun! And it made everyone super happy for Christmas and sharing the gospel. 

The daughter of E and Li is going to get baptized and we were teaching her, but she's not very vocal. She's pretty shy so we were trying to think of how to get her talk. In Primary at church, she belts singing so we thought to make up a song about baptism using the tune to Happy Birthday. She loved it! Now she belts it and it's so cute. I love how the gospel is for everyone, no matter the age or where you live. There is so much joy in sharing the gospel! 

I'm so excited for Christmas and Lushnje is started to be decorated and it looks so good! MR and I are feeding off each other and we get excited really easily so it's super funny haha 

I hope you all feel the Christmas festivities and share it with everyone around you! It's not about the commercial stuff. We don't see any of that here. Albanians use Christmas trees and lights and stuff, but it's for New Year's. We tell ourselves it's for Christmas. But not having the commercial aspect of Christmas is really cool. Sometimes I think, where's the stores and people bustling around and sales, but now without it I feel the real spirit of Christmas. It's all about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and giving. MR and I are trying to serve others as much as we can and I honestly haven't felt more happy on my mission. It's all about giving and not getting.

Gezuar Krishtlindjen!! 

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