Thursday, January 7, 2016

Week 61/62 - Transfer 5 (of 5 1/2) begins

old comp and new comp.. both tall, blonde, from Virginia, serving in Lushnje together.. 
now serving with Sister Peters, from my mtc group :)

Lushnje in the background <3  

cuute primary class, most of them are the grandkids of a recent convert T <3 

new years' adventure (got an extra p-day!), also celebrating year-mark w sis piterz, my new comp! made byrek then ate it on top of a hill 
gettin in touch with our artsy sides  

Gezuar Vitin e Ri! Ju uroj nje vite te mbare, qofshit mire fare..
This past week was filled with extra p-days but also awesome lessons and down-to-earth people.
Btw, we had transfers! I am staying in Lushnje (yay), now serving with Motra Peters! She is awesome and we've been having such a great time together.

The other day I read 2 John 1:12 and it reminded me of skyping you all on Christmas.. so much to say, so little time, always better face-to-face!

New Year's is a big deal here in Shqiperi.. basically all the holidays clumped into one.. gather with family and eat turkey; give presents and advertise with Santa (Babagjushi), and party it all up on the 31st with lotsa fireworks!

We had the best view from our 8th floor apt, including the people right below us were shooting things off their balcony, and we also happen to live right by the main square so it was crazy! Also walking to and from lessons we had to dodge little boys setting off their own fireworks the whole week before..3 and 4 year olds running around with matches and explosives, not the best idea....

As much as we enjoyed the firework show, New Year's really got in the way of missionary work, I have to say! Many lessons were cancelled because our investigators and members were too busy making baklava. Also, we have 6 investigators on baptismal date but none of them have been coming to church so I have to admit, yesterday in sacrament meeting when nobody showed up after strongly committing in lessons that they would be there, I was feeling a little frustrated that people just have not been doing their part and lacking drive and not progressing and feeling like we are dragging these people to meet and read and come to sacrament but they should be eager to take these positive steps by themselves because this gospel is only going to bless them. It's a fine line between being patient and sticking with people despite their schedules and agency, while not focusing too much energy and attention on people who aren't willing and ready to make the needed changes now. They've got to have desire from within.

I want to share a cool story, actually one of the previously mentioned bap. dates who hasn't been in church. A 16yr old girl, L, who the elders tracted into a couple weeks ago. Turns out she's been taught by the missionaries and was basically an active member without being baptized like 4 yrs ago but then got busy with school/ family and kinda dropped off. But now we're teaching her! It's incredible to me that we get to teach and meet this girl who is so prepared.. I wish those former missionaries could see her now, and know that she's coming back! It's cool to be on the other side, "harvesting", because a lot of my mission has been "planting" and I like to wonder how they'll come in contact with the church years down the road when they're ready. Like the rest, she was busy with new year's but we plan to meet frequently, starting tonight.

Also we met a missionary, Christian- no set denomination but doing volunteer work with multiple churches nearby- C, from Trinidad and what was supposed to be a respectful discussion sharing our beliefs and supporting each other in our missions turned into much more of a contentious bible-bash than we'd expected. I left 2 Nephi 29 for her to read on her own. All I can say is I'm grateful for calm, respectful lessons with the Spirit present and I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it does not replace the Bible but further testifies of Christ and His divine mission.

Also I love the lyrics to the hymn, "Lord, I would follow thee." (#220). I may have mentioned that before.. it's still a great one. :)

I love you all! Good luck with any New Years resolutions and if you're having a hard time keeping them, just be glad you aren't fed baklava (thin strips of white flour saturated with oil/butter/sugary syrup) multiple times a day, in a culture where it is rude to reject food that's offered to you. Haha. But really, I wish you all the best in this new year! It's gonna be a good one, I can tell. 
Me shume dashuri nga Motra Rajlli :)

kinda spontaneous, chopped off my hair.. new transfer, new yr of my life (21) plus I figured if it turned out bad it doesn't matter since I'm just out on the mission right ?:)

my new comp! mtc reunion ha 

year-mark in-country! 

construction in front of our house finished!

WW3 I mean New Year's in Albania!  

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